A practice forum in Sydney, for the Australian lifeguards who were testing a new drone turned into a real rescue when the drone helped to save two swimmers at a beach in New South Wales.
Jai Sheridan, a lifeguard supervisor who was operating the drone and was alerted to two young men aged 15 and 17, caught in the turbulent surf with 10-foot swells which happened on Thursday morning. Mr. Sheridan then directed the drone towards the swimmers. A member of the public noticed them struggling in heavy surf about 700m (2,300ft) offshore.
It can be seen releasing a yellow “rescue pod” that floats in the water which could be seen in a video of the incident taken from the drone. The two swimmers grabbed the pod, and with its help, they made their way to shore. They were exhausted but not hurt, Surf Life Saving New South Wales, a volunteer organization, said in a statement.
The rescue time for the two swimmers just took 70 seconds. Mr. Sheridan said, “On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer”.
The drone used by the rescue team is called as the Little Ripper UAV, that is also part of a shark-spotting program being rolled out across Australian beaches this summer. It uses an algorithm to recognize the presence of sharks automatically.
Michael said, “The applications in the water are just phenomenal”. The professor at the University of Technology Sydney Blumenstein, who oversaw the team that advanced the shark-spotting software. “The number of payloads that these drones carry will enhance them to be really versatile in nature.”
In cases like involving rough surf, remote locations or natural disasters, where conditions may be hazardous and time is a factor, Professor Blumenstein said, without endangering human lives drones are able to guide the operators assess a situation.
Watch a video of Swimmers Rescued By Drones: