Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

In a first, drone rescues swimmers off Australia beach

In a first, drone rescues swimmers off Australia beach

Two teenage boys sucked out to sea by a rip tide have been saved from drowning by a in a world-first rescue in Australia. The swimmers, ages 15 and 17, were then able to cling to the device as they swam back to shore.

The struggling swimmers were located within minutes and the drone, recording every second, dropped an inflatable pod into the water, New South Wales Surf Life Saving said in a statement.

The pair were were completely unharmed during their ordeal, apart from fatigue. Sheridan told the Sydney Morning Herald that the drone "certainly proved itself today-it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly".

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said that investment had paid off when the technology was used in the dramatic rescue.

Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan was in the middle of piloting a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle, at the time so was able to utilize the same device to drop the pod. Lifeguards put the drone in the air and moved it towards the swimmers and dropped an inflatable pod into the water, where it expanded.

Government officials called the incident a "world first", local media reported, adding that it was also significantly quicker to get to the location using a drone.

"This was an extraordinary rescue with the very best possible outcome". If the drone had not been used, the lifeguards estimate that it would have taken easily thrice as long to reach the teenagers.

This rescue comes not long after the NSW government chose to invest roughly $430,000 AUD in this sort of drone technology as part of an ongoing North Coast trial.

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