Drones: Rescuer from the skies


  • TECH
  • Saturday, 18 Mar 2017

Drone assistant: Firefighters in Branford, Connecticut, USA using drones to survey areas and assist in search and rescue operations.

We know that drones have been used quite extensively in search and rescue operations these days, but have you ever wondered just how many people have actually been saved by drones?

Well, drone-maker DJI actually did a survey to find out, by collecting incidents reported in the media of the use of drones in search and rescue operations around the world.

From the survey of reported incidents, the company has produced a report about how many people have actually been saved as a direct result of using drones.

Based on the report, which logged some 18 incidents from 2013 to 2017, the total number of people “in imminent peril” who were directly located, assisted and/or rescued with drones numbered exactly 59.

However, what’s more interesting is that the bulk of those rescues (that’s 38 if you’re counting) happened between May 2016 and February 2017, which shows that the number of search and rescue operations that utilise drones is definitely on the rise.

While 59 doesn’t actually seem like such a large number, the report goes on to say that since the survey was based on incidents reported in the media only, the actual figure is likely to be higher since many such rescues go unreported.

The DJI report also doesn’t take into account where drones were used to indirectly save lives, such as when used to narrow search zones or where drones were used but it was unclear whether the drones played a substantial role in lifesaving rescues.

For those lives that qualified to be counted, drones were directly involved in spotting survivors and in some cases, used to deliver rescue ropes and life jackets.

So the next time when you’re stranded in a flood and sitting on your roof, try looking up at the sky and listening for the telltale buzz – your saviour could be coming from the skies.

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