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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Drone Helps Rescue Trapped Rafters

As reported by EngadgetDrones aren't just useful as scouts and signalers during rescue operations -- they can play a hand in the actual rescue, too. When the Auburn Fire Department went to help recover two young men stranded in the middle of rapids in Mechanics Falls, Maine, Fire Chief Frank Roma used a DJI Phantom 3 to deliver a tag line that carried a much-needed life jacket. It also doubled as an observer while emergency crews sent an inflatable boat to bring the men back to shore, as you can see in the video below. 

While Roma notes that the Phantom 3 was his personal machine rather than official equipment, he's eager to see drones used more often in the field. This only "scratch[es] the surface," he tells TV network WMTW. It'll be a while before robots are carrying you out of danger, unfortunately, but that key role in a river rescue offers a glimpse of what's possible.