While lifeguards were training to acquaint themselves with the new drone technology that they will eventually use for rescue, they received a report about two swimmers struggling in the sea.
Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan who was controlling the drone at that time immediately responded using the new technology and within minutes of the call, they were able to locate the swimmers and carry out the rescue.
“The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly,” Sheridan remarked. “I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes. On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public.”
It can be recalled that the NSW government announced late last year that they will be investing in a $430,000 in drone technology.
Considering the successful yet “unplanned” rescue made possible by the said investment, Westpac Little Ripper chief executive Eddie Bennet said that Australia has proven to the world that it is a leader in such cutting-edge technology.
“The investment by Westpac in allowing the development of the Westpac Little Ripper is the new generation of rescue services,” Bennet said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro was one with Bennet saying:
“It’s quite incredible to see that the NSW Government’s investment in this technology has already resulted in two people having their lives saved.”
“Never before has a drone, fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this.”
Apparently, the two swimmers were able to use the pod to reach the shore and apart from signs of fatigue, they were found to be alive and well.
“It took only 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,” Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW said.