Drone saves swimmers in 'world-first rescue'

UAV drone
The drone reached the struggling swimmers much faster than lifeguards could. Photo credit: Getty

In a world-first, a drone has saved two swimmers in huge surf off an Australian beach.

Two teenage swimmers got into difficulties at Lennox Head in New South Wales, and were spotted by a member of the public who alerted nearby life guards.

As the boys were 700m off shore, lifesavers opted to send out a drone to drop an inflatable rescue pod to the pair rather than trying to tackle the waves themselves.

"The lifeguard in this scenario got the Little Ripper drone up in the air and guided it down the beach," said Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair.

It took a minute to reach them - lifeguards would have taken six.

The 16- and 17-year-olds were able to jump aboard the raft and make their way safely to shore.

"Vision captured by the drone shows the Pod expanding, allowing both swimmers to reach it and grab hold of the device to help them stay afloat," said Mr Blair.

"This is a world-first rescue," said Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro.

"Never before has a drone fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this."


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