Powerful storms have dumped heavy rain on parts of North Texas, causing power outages and flash flooding throughout the area.
Johnson County reported 13 water rescues alone on early Sunday, and one of those came via drone.
The Kastel family lives in a mobile home that was completely surrounded by water. The fast-moving water made it impossible for firefighters to reach the family, according to Fox 4 News.
That’s when Johnson County emergency personnel decided to use a DJI drone to get a rescue line to the family. Garrett Bryl (watch the video below) has volunteered his drone called “Valkyrie” for months to help in emergency situations.
Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jamie Moore said, “they attached a small lead line, in other words, a very small rope to the bottom of the drone so that rescuers had a rope between them and the house to be able to pull themselves across the river.”
“My wife looked out the window and said, “Oh my God, the water’s under the house!'” Bill Kastel tells WFAA. “We’ve been living here for 20-25 years, and we never experienced any flooding like this.”
Drones are being used more to aid in disaster relief. Nepal, which suffered its worst earthquake in 80 years on April 25, 2015, used drones for aerial photography and to map areas affected by the earthquake. That information is passed on to aid crews and rescue workers on the ground.
Nepal has a very limited infrastructure and a shortage of manned helicopters. The imagery captured by drones is processed into 3D models of the terrain below. These 3D models will give responders more detailed information about the destruction than traditional 2D maps.
Emergency personnel in Johnson County, Texas attempted to rescue a family from a flooded home. (Gary Ultee/WFAA)