Drones used to save teenage swimmers

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Lifeguards used a drone fitted with a flotation device to rescue two swimmers struggling in heavy surf at Lennox Head.

In a world-first rescue, lifeguards at Lennox Head have used a drone to spot two swimmers in powerful surf about one kilometre north of the flags.

The lifeguard used the drone to drop a Rescue Pod into the water. Once expanded, the swimmers were able to grab hold of the pod to help them stay afloat and make their way to shore.

It took 70 seconds from when the Little Ripper drone was launched to when it dropped the pod into the ocean for the rescue. The task would usually take a lifeguard up to 6 minutes to complete.

Both swimmers were fatigued but uninjured.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said it was incredible to see the NSW Government’s investment in this technology resulting in two lives saved.

“Never before has a drone, fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this,” Barilaro said.

In December 2017, the NSW Government announced it would invest $430,000 in drone technology as part of a trial on the North Coast of NSW.

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