HAMBURG, Germany — microdrones has released a video demonstrating a new water rescue tactic it hs developed that uses drones. The company says it may revolutionize lifeguard rescue operations all over the world.
In the video, a specially trained lifeguard spots a drowning swimmer and immediately deploys a microdrones unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as another lifeguard rushes through the water to the victim’s aid. The drone flies over the water, reaches the swimmer ahead of the swimming lifeguard, and drops a compact flotation device that automatically inflates. The panicking victim is then able to grab onto the device and float while waiting for the second lifeguard to arrive.
This approach to water rescue came about when microdrones recognized the potentially life-saving use for the new technology and decided to develop the tactic in collaboration with the DLRG Horneburg (a German lifeguard association) and RESTUBE, the award-winning makers of compact flotation devices.
With this new approach to water rescue, microdrones has overcome two key challenges lifeguards face: Lack of time and victim panic. An adult is able to struggle on the surface of the water for an average of only one minute before drowning and a child drowns in less than 30 seconds. Often, lifeguards are not able to reach the swimmer in that brief timeframe.
With a drone, the lifeguard team is able to fly straight over the water to deliver a flotation device, buying the traditional lifeguard additional time to reach the victim.
Under normal circumstances, when the lifeguard arrives at the swimmer, they encounter a dangerous situation: A victim in the throes of an instinctive drowning response. A panicking victim will instinctively clutch and push up on anything that comes near them, including a rescuer.
AVIR Syndrome (Aquatic Victim Instead of Rescuer Syndrome) refers to the unintentional drowning of a rescuer by the panicking victim they are attempting to save. Lifeguards carry flotation devices to rescues for this reason.
If the victim is able to remain calm, the rescue is far less complicated and dangerous – and much more likely to succeed. Drone-assisted water rescue helps the victim to be calmer for the actual rescue because they are able to float using the device delivered by the drone.
“After seeing what I saw today, I have no doubt that drones will play a significant role in the near future of water rescue – and that we’ll see less fatalities as result,” said Robert Rink from the DLRG Horneburg.