Amazon is currently testing using drones to deliver packages. Recently in Australia, lifeguards used a drone to deliver something far more vital than a package from an online retailer. They successfully used a Little Ripper drone to drop a flotation rescue pod to two teenaged swimmers in danger of drowning in heavy surf on Lennox Head on the state’s Far North Coast. From the Surf Life Saving NSW press release:
At about 11:30, two men were swimming in powerful surf conditions approximately a kilometre north of the patrolled area when a member of the public noticed that they were having difficulty in the 3 metre swell.
Lifeguard Supervisor Jai Sheridan, the 2017 NSW Lifeguard of the Year, was piloting the UAV at the time, immediately responded and was able to locate the swimmers within minutes of the initial alert.
In a world first real life situation, he dropped the rescue pod to the swimmers, who were able to cling onto it and make their own way to shore where they were met by lifeguards from Lennox Head who had raced to the scene in an ATV.
The pair were fortunately unharmed from their ordeal apart from showing signs of fatigue.
“The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly,” said Jai Sheridan
“I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes. On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public,” he said.
Westpac Little Ripper CEO, Mr. Eddie Bennet said this drone technology and payload ability has been 3 intensive years in development to enable this world first in a drone rescue that occurred today.
“The Westpac Little Ripper’s rescue today of the 2 young swimmers, in the 3 metre dangerous swell, clearly illustrates the benefit of this cutting edge technology in such a time critical emergency situation. It works and Australia is leading the world in this technology, said Mr Bennet.