Drone lifeguard service saves boy off Spanish beach
A drone lifeguard service in operation across Spanish beaches has saved a 14-year-old boy from drowning after he become caught in the tide off a beach in Valencia.
The drone, operated by General Drones, dropped a life vest into the sea that was able to keep the boy afloat until a lifeguard team arrived on scene.
Miguel Angel Pedrero, drone pilot, General Drones, told Reuters: “When we arrived what we saw was a kid that was in very bad shape, with almost no energy to keep floating, so I sent over the life vest. Because of the heavy waves it was a complicated manoeuvre, but we finally managed to give him the vest and he could float until the lifeguards reached him by jet ski.”
The Valencia-based firm began supporting Spanish lifeguard staff in 2017 in the town of Sagunto just north of Valencia. It now has more than 30 pilots and drones at 22 beaches across Spain.
Pedrero added: “These extra seconds are vital in some cases and also allows the rescue teams to approach the person more calmly and cautiously.”
After being rescued, the boy was sent to a local hospital and kept overnight before being discharged.
According to the Royal Spanish Lifesaving and Rescue Federation, a total of 140 people have died from accidental drowning in Spain in the first six months of 2022, 55% more than in the same period of 2021.