Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Drone Rescues Swimmers Faster Than Lifeguards Could've

Drone Rescues Swimmers Faster Than Lifeguards Could've

Pals Gabe Vidler and Monty Greeslade reportedly got into difficulty in a three meter (10ft) swell at Lennox Head beach, an area popular with surfers south of Brisbane, on Thursday.

"The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly", Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan said.

As the boys were 700m off shore, lifesavers opted to send out a drone to drop an inflatable rescue pod to the pair rather than trying to tackle the waves themselves.

Video shows the drone, directly overhead the swimmers, drop the lifesaving device into the water as the two teens grab on.

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The drone is part of the government's $16 million shark management strategy and are used to patrol beaches in New South Wales and Queensland.

The teenagers are said to be unharmed after their ordeal.

Several drones have been created for rescue services so that they can be used in emergency situations to get help to those in need as soon as possible before first responders arrive.

The Westpac Little Ripper drone allows lifeguards to spot swimmers from above and drop an inflatable device.

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A government official confirmed that the entire rescue took just 70 seconds, while a human lifeguard would have needed an average of six minutes to reach the swimmers.

"This was an extraordinary rescue with the very best outcome", he said to The Sydney Morning Herald.

New South Wales announced that $430,000 would be invested in drone technology last December.

Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service chair Tim Jago said they had been testing drones for two summers, but had not used the technology for rescues.

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