Drones have been successfully deployed to help rescue swimmers in distress on Spain’s eastern coast, according to the Valencian Agency for Security and Emergency Response that has been trialling a pilot program on several beaches.
In two videos, both taken on August 25, the agency said, drones are launched from the sand and flown over water to troubled swimmers. Lifejackets are then dropped down to the swimmers from the drones.
The first video shows two swimmers struggling 100 meters (328 ft) off the shore of Cullera, and the second shows a one individual in trouble 150 meters (492 ft) off a beach in Guardamar del Segura, the agency said. In both cases, a yellow-flag warning was in effect due to strong currents, it added.
A week earlier, another video released by the agency showed the rescue of several people near Port Saplaya, just north of the city of Valencia.
Valencia’s provincial government started exploring the use of drones in emergency situations in 2016, and began incorporating them into operations in 2018. Since then, drones have been used to search for missing persons and to survey major flood and fire damage.
The three-month pilot program on Valencia’s beaches, led by the provincial Ministry of Justice, Interior and Public Administration, was launched on August 3 across 10 municipalities. Minister of Justice Gabriela Bravo said the drones offered a faster response" to those drowning, reaching them in “seconds,” and said the government planned to expand their use across the province.
“As of July 30, 26 people have already died by drowning this year in the community, figures that we can not afford,” Bravo said. Credit: GVA 112CV via Storyful