Technology sometimes does some distressing things. Twitter still exists. So does Facebook. But sometimes tech does really, really well. Like the drone program currently running in the Spanish municipality of Sagunto, in Valencia.
Earlier this month, a drone helped facilitate the rescue of a swimmer in distress. It did this by getting from the shore, out past the breakers to where a 14-year-old swimmer was struggling. Lifeguards could see that the swimmer was fatigued and used the drone to drop off a life jacket.
Baywatch, but with drones
In the video, you can see the unnamed swimmer battling to stay afloat. The area they were stuck was a particularly hazardous one. A combination of breaking waves and rip currents make escaping from the zone difficult, even if you’re accustomed to the conditions. The drone drops a life jacket, winching it back to drop it again within reach. Once the young boy managed to get hold of it, the drone hangs around until the jetski rescue turns up.
It’s not the first time Sagunto lifeguards have used drones to save lives. Since June this year, the General Drones rescue service has performed five life-jacket drops. Sagunto has been using the service since 2017. It was started by two former lifeguards, Adrián Plazas and Enrique Fernández. They got the idea for the service after a woman they rescued died on their jetski. The pair reckoned that a little more time would have saved her life, and set to work building a flying craft that would handle ocean conditions. Dropping life jackets by drone was the logical outcome, extending the time responders have to get to their targets. Now, the pair’s company provides rescue services to some twenty beaches in Valencia.
Source: Interesting Engineering