Drone Rescues Two Teenage Swimmers in Choppy Surf

We’re always eager to recognize the heroes who risk their lives to save others, but the hero in this story isn’t interested in our praise. Drones, after all, aren’t particularly moved by flattery or gratitude, but they are useful when it comes to saving swimmers in Australia. As originally reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, a drone played the role of levitating lifeguard and saved two swimmers who were struggling against heavy surf in New South Wales.

The dramatic rescue took place on Thursday, January 18,  and represents the first application of drone technology to protect swimmers. Drones were initially introduced to coastal lifeguards when the NSW government pledged $16 million to a shark-mitigation strategy. But clearly, the drones have additional uses as well.

The two distressed swimmers managed to get a distress signal to NSW lifeguards, and it just so happened the supervisor Jai Sheridan (the 2017 NSW Lifeguard of the Year) was controlling the drone. Sheridan responded immediately, flying the unmanned aerial vehicle to the swimmers’ location within minutes, and deployed help. The drone dropped a flotation device into the water, helping the teenage swimmers.

As Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said, “It’s quite incredible to see that the NSW Government’s investment in this technology has already resulted in two people having their lives saved.”

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A drone played the role of levitating lifeguard and saved two swimmers who were struggling against heavy surf. The dramatic rescue took place on Thursday and represents the first application of drone technology to protect swimmers.


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Also published on Medium.