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Teen swimmers rescued with help of drone in Australia

18 January 2018

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the investment had already paid for itself with the "world first rescue".

Lifeguard Jai Sheridan piloted the drone to them, which deployed a floatation device.

As lifeguards were learning how to use the new device, a distress call came in after someone saw the boys having a hard time staying afloat in heavy waves about 2,300 feet offshore.

One of the boys, Monty Greenslade, told Channel Seven it was "definitely a sigh of relief" when the drone reached them.

The drone, known officially as the Little Ripper, is part of a new generation of search-and-rescue technology made by the Westpac Little Ripper group in which the Australian state of New South Wales has invested to help protect its beaches, according to Surf Life Saving.

Two teenage boys were rescued while struggling in the sea by a new lifesaving unmanned aerial vehicle in a world first. Barilaro released a video of the rescue on Twitter.

Lifeguards launched the drone, steered it towards the swimmers and dropped a "rescue pod" into the water, where it expanded so the swimmers could grab it and swim to shore.

The Department of Primary Industry has also used the technology as a research tool for shark surveillance off the North Coast.

The rescue happened about 11.30am, as lifeguards were preparing for a training session to familiarise themselves with the drones.

Along with their ability to spot swimmers in trouble and deliver life saving devices faster than traditional lifesaving techniques, like launching surfboards or rubber dinghies, drones are being used in Australia to spot underwater predators like sharks and jellyfish.

Teen swimmers rescued with help of drone in Australia