Every day, drones are used to make people’s lives easier. They have a number of applications across dozens of industries, and are used to make tasks more time efficient, financially efficient, and in some cases, to save lives. Drone’s have the capability to change how we work for the better. To put it simply - drones are tools, not toys.
This past February, the Enfield Police Department in Connecticut was notified of a missing person, a visually impaired 62-year-old man. Family members informed the police that the man had been missing since the previous morning, meaning he unaccounted for overnight when temperatures had dropped to single digits.
Immediately, the frigid temperatures emerged as the primary concern of investigators and first responders. Hypothermia was a daunting and legitimate threat considering the freezing temperatures and the longevity of the man’s exposure. Unfortunately, the search and rescue process started with little direction. Investigators were able to determine that the man had wandered away from home and became disoriented, but they had no leads as to which direction the man had gone.
In the eyes of the Enfield police officers, each passing minute threatened the man’s chances of survival. So, they contacted the nearby Vernon Police Department, who immediately sent Sergeant Todd Thiel, a drone pilot, to assist with the search efforts. Thiel arrived at the scene and began surveying nearby land, desperately searching for any sign of the man.
The 62-year-old man had been lost in the woods for an estimated 33 hours. Sgt. Todd Thiel and his drone located him in 30 minutes.
Using the live feed from the drone, Thiel spotted the man about 100 yards into a wooded area, shivering and hidden from plain view. Thiel used the drone to direct the search and rescue team on the ground to the man’s location. The man was transported to a nearby hospital where he has since made a full recovery, thanks to the timely action of the police officials and the technology available to them.