“I will use every resource available to serve the residents of Dutchess County. Our Drone Unit utilizes cutting-edge technology, which not that long ago was only possible with helicopters. This technology enhances public safety and saves taxpayers a tremendous amount of money. I commend my deputies and could not be prouder of their excellent police work and swift response in locating these two lost hikers.” –Sheriff Imperati

A pair of lost hikers in Dutchess County, New York have a drone equipped with a thermal imaging camera to thank for their swift rescue.

ABC7 reports a man and woman in their 20s placed a 911 call Tuesday evening after getting lost on a hiking trail on Stissing Mountain. The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Patrol, ATV Unit, and UAS Drone Unit responded to the scene. A drone was sent up over the 590-acre wooded area and the lost hikers were  located within 90 minutes approximately 4,000 feet into the woods from their vehicle.

Capt. Todd Grieb credits the use of their drone with the speedy location of the lost hikers:

“Without that we would’ve been moving around in the dark yelling or doing our typical grid search to be able to locate these folks.”

Search and rescue teams’ adoption of drone technology is a straight up no brainer at this point. They are getting cheaper and easier to use every year and we hope that every S&R team will soon have one in their tool kit. Don’t love aspect about drones flooding our skies but we can all agree their use for backcountry rescue is a positive.