New South Wales’ $340,000 investment in drones has apparently paid off in a major way. On Thursday, two teenage boys in Australia struggling offshore were saved thanks to a rescue drone, the BBC reported.
Ben Franklin, Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, told the Sydney Morning Herald that “it only took 70 seconds” for the drone—the Little Ripper UAV—to make its way to the boys and then drop the inflatable pod to rescue them. The drone, deployed by lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan, caught the whole thing on camera.
“On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public,” Sheridan told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The government’s investment in a fleet of drones is part of its nearly $13 million Shark Management Strategy program which was announced in 2015. Trials of drones as a means of aerial surveillance and real-time views of the coast are being held in a number of locations, including Lennox Head, where the two boys were reportedly rescued.