This Wednesday, a group of seven swimmers located about 70 m (230 ft) from the beach at Spain's port of Sagunto found themselves caught in an undertow and being swept out to sea. After they signalled one of the lifeguards, an onsite Auxdron Lifeguard Drone was flown out to perform a rescue.
Made by Spanish startup GeneralDrones, the Auxdron features eight props/motors located on the ends of four arms, along with a watertight carbon fiber body and a maximum flight time of 34 minutes – that goes down to 26 minutes when it's carrying a payload of two inflatable life jackets.
In Wednesday's incident, shore-located operator Diego Torres remotely piloted the drone out to the swimmers. He was guided by radio communications with the lifeguard, along with a real-time video feed from the aircraft's gimbal-stabilized onboard camera.
Once the drone reached the swimmers, its video revealed that one woman in particular was really struggling with the current, so Torres dropped and guided one of the drone's tethered life jackets over to her. The jacket automatically inflated upon contact with the water, and was able to be disconnected from its tether once she had gotten hold of it.
Lifeguards on Jet Skis subsequently arrived to retrieve the woman and bring her to shore, with the Auxdron continuing to hover above the remaining swimmers, monitoring them and marking their location until they could also be picked up.
The drone's-eye-view video of the rescue can be seen below.
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