Watch a Drone Rescue Two Drowning Swimmers

Drones get a lot of criticism for both privacy and air safety concerns, but they also hold enormous potential beyond simply making aerial photography and videography available to the average shooter. This video shows some of that potential as a drone saves two swimmers caught in a rip current.

Lennox Head, New South Wales is a popular Australian surfing spot. Recently, people on the beach spotted two teenage boys caught in a dangerous rip current that was pulling them out to sea while large waves battered them. Rip currents are especially dangerous as they're very hard to discern, and their narrow, strong flow moves straight out to sea, often causing inexperienced swimmers to attempt to swim back toward shore and exhausting themselves (sometimes leading to drowning) in the process. In this case, a Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone was flown to the two boys, where it quickly spotted them and dropped a floatation device that allowed the two to make it back to shore safely, as you can see in the video above. The Guardian reports that at 70 seconds, the rescue took only about a third as long as it would have with a lifeguard.

[via The Guardian]

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Parrish Ruiz de Velasco's picture

Pretty cool. So many uses still to be discovered too.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Wow that's incredible, really useful for getting in tough terrain where search and rescue can't get to. I hope this happens more often!

Seeing this, I really wonder why coast guards don't have emergency drones ready to fly with rescue pods ...

Might change the headline. Two swimmers - not two drowning swimmers. They may have drowned if not rescued.

If you ever get caught in a current like this you should swim sideways, *along* the shore not towards it until you get out of the current and into safe waters. Only then attempt to get back. Disclaimer: I'm not a great swimmer and luckily never get been in a situation like this but that's what I've been told is the way to save your life.