Two boys needed to be rescued from the raging Little Androscoggin River in Maine after their tub overturned Tuesday. Only one of them was wearing a life jacket.
Frank Roma, chief of the Auburn fire department, wanted to get that boy a life jacket before attempting the rescue. The water was rough, and rescuers had a hard time getting to the boys, so they used Roma’s personal drone to deliver a life jacket and a safety line to the boys.
“We wanted to make sure we got a life jacket on that second child so that if they did fall in the water we could catch them downstream,” said Roma. “We used the drone to fly a tag line out to the young man that was on the rock, we instructed him to untie and to pull life jacket over to him.”
The drone, which Roma bought just to take photos, caught the rescue on camera. The boys were stranded for more than an hour after the strong current knocked them off their tube. However, with both boys safely in life jackets, two rescuers paddled out to them and got them to shore safely and unharmed.
Drones are being used more to aid in disaster relief. In May 2015, a DJI drone delivered a rescue line to a family surround by flood waters in their home in Texas. And in Nepal, which suffered its worst earthquake in 80 years on April 25, 2015, drones were used to map areas affected by the earthquake. That information is passed on to aid crews and rescue workers on the ground.