Lifeguards Learning to Use New Drone Discover Two Teens Drowning and Pull Off Incredible Rescue

Australian lifeguards training to use a new rescue drone pulled off a dramatic rescue after discovering two teens caught in a riptide, The Associated Press reports.

Monty Greenslade, 16, and Gave Vidler, 17, were spotted about a half a mile away from the lifeguards who were learning to use the new drone, which includes a camera and rescue gear.

Lifeguard Jai Sheridan said a friend alerted the lifeguards and he piloted the drone to the teens and dropped a rescue pod that inflated into a raft. He said he was able to reach the swimmers much faster with the drone than lifeguards would have been able to.

“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,” Sheridan said.

“We realized pretty quickly that it was a rescue drone, once we heard it,” Greenslade told Nine Network television. “It was pretty noisy, so it was kind of hard to miss it, to be honest.”

“With the heavy waves, we were sort of going under and coming up for breath and … the drone dropped the package and we both grabbed on pretty quickly. It’s kind of obvious what you’re supposed to do with it,” he added.

“It was pretty heavy out there and we were a little bit concerned,” Vidler told the outlet. “It just dropped the life raft and so we just held on to that and just swam into shore.”

“This is a world-first rescue,” state Deputy Premier John Barilaro said. “Never before has a drone, fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this.”