TECH BYTE: Drones Help Find Missing Teen

MURPHY, N.C. (WDEF) — Law enforcement officers are using tech to do their jobs more efficiently.

Drones specifically are helping them with rescue efforts.

Drones are now giving law enforcement an extra set of eyes in the sky, and on the ground.

They definitely came in handy recently, helping the Hiwassee Dam Fire Department in Murphy, North Carolina, find a teen with special needs who was lost in the mountains.

He reportedly wandered away from his home into the surrounding woods.

“Five years ago, we would have never dreamed this was possible,” said Fire Chief Chad McNabb. “I knew the technology existed, I’d never been exposed to it to this extent. But now that I’ve seen it – highly impressed. I think everyone on the scene was impressed with it as well.”

Chief McNabb says first responders used three drones to fly over grid patterns, and detect heat signatures to find the teen.

Once the drone detected his heat signature, they were able to mark GPS coordinates to go and rescue him.

“We would have basically filled the woods full of folks doing grid searches, and just hoped someone stumbled up on him,” McNabb said.

The drones saved them a lot of time, and manpower.

“Because there was not a true point last seen, so no one knew exactly which direction the juvenile had gone. We were looking at probably five square miles of rugged terrain,” he said. “To try to coordinate with a grid search would have taken hundreds of people.”

Chief McNabb says thanks to the drones, it only took them two hours to find the missing teen.

Categories: Local News, Tech Byte, Technology