Dronin’ on

A drone fitted with a flotation device in Australia helped to save the lives of two teenagers in January, after they got into trouble swimming off the coast of Lennox Head, near Byron Bay in New South Wales

Coincidentally, lifeguards on the beach were undergoing a training session with the drone at the time and once the boys were spotted, lifeguard Jai Sheridan decided to put his training into action. He flew the drone, known as Little Ripper, into the air and spotted the swimmers, and was then able to release the drone’s rescue pod into the water. Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, told a local news service: “Vision captured by the drone shows the pod expanding, allowing both swimmers to reach it and grab hold of the device to help them stay afloat.” The swimmers then used the pod to help them swim to shore. It just over one minute for the drone to reach the swimmers, whereas it would have taken the lifeguards around six minutes.