A Drone helped save two teenage swimmers struggling in powerful surf on the Australian coastline on Thursday in what the local authorities called a “world first.”
Just before midday local time, a member of the public spotted the 16- and 17-year-old boys caught in a rip current in rough seas off Lennox Head, a beach popular with surfers about 750 kilometres north of Sydney.
A Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone was quickly launched and directed to the boys’ location, where it deployed a life raft then used by the pair to get back to safety. The call for help sounded as a group of nearby lifeguards was undergoing training in the use of drones.
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Government officials, including New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro, called the incident a “world first,” local media reported, adding that it was also significantly quicker to get to the location using a drone.
Australia, whose 24 million people live mostly on the coast, had 291 drowning deaths in the 12 months ending June 30, 2017, a small increase over the prior 12-month period but a decline on a per capita basis, according to the Royal Life Saving Society.
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