Off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales (NSW), two teenage boys aged 15–17 were rescued by a new lifesaving drone in Australia.
While lifeguards were training to use the device, a member of the public noticed the two boys struggling in heavy surf about 700 metres (2,300 feet) offshore.
Lifesavers quickly flew the drone to drop an inflatable rescue pod, allowing the pair to safely make their way to shore.
NSW’s deputy premier John Barilaro praised the rescue as an historic achievement: “Never before has a drone fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this,” he said.
Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan was flying the machine when the alarm was raised. He described the experience as “unreal”.
Mr Sheridan said it took just a minute or two to launch the drone, fly it to the rescue site, and drop the pod.
“The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
The drone’s camera also recorded the whole rescue.