Monday, 19 November, 2018

'Little Ripper' Drone Rescues Australian Swimmers In World First

A drone saved two boys aged 16 and 17 from three metre swell in northern NSW A drone saved two boys aged 16 and 17 from drowning in three metre swell
Ellis Copeland | 19 January, 2018, 01:59

Two northern NSW teenagers today became the first swimmers worldwide to be rescued from unsafe surf conditions by lifesaving drone technology.

Lifeguards spotted the boys struggling and sent out the drone, called the Little Ripper Lifesaver. They grabbed the pod and made it back to shore.

The practice turned into a real rescue when someone noticed that two men swimming outside safety flags were in trouble in a 3m swell, the government said in a statement.

"It works and Australia is leading the world in this technology". "It only took 70 seconds from when the Little Ripper drone was launched to when it dropped the pod into the ocean for the rescue, a task that would usually take a lifeguard up to six minutes to complete." said New South Wales (NSW) Parliamentary Secretary Ben Franklin.

The Westpac Little Ripper UAV is a drone-based technology that carries an inflatable pod that can be deployed in rescue situations (Supplied).

Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan was in the middle of piloting a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle, at the time so was able to utilize the same device to drop the pod.

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

John Barilaro, the deputy premier of New South Wales state, told Reuters that it was the first rescue of its kind.

Today, Mr Blair said it was evident that the investment had paid off.

Helping validate the more than $430,000 investment in drone technology by the New South Wales government last December, the first reported drone rescue at sea took place just this week in Australia.

Both teenagers suffered no injuries in the incident.

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