Drones Increase Effectiveness of Missing Person Search

A drone has also been tested for the first time from a lifeboat when the independent volunteer Caister Lifeboat conducted trials this week

21 September 2017, Birmingham, UK

Following the successful drone use within Surrey Search & Rescue’s operations, training provider Consortiq is hopeful that more charities of this kind will take advantage of the benefits of this technology.

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Instead of relying on police helicopters to find and identify missing people, UAVs can be effectively utilised to carry out this task, at a lower cost and often with a higher availability than their manned counterparts.

 

In the case of Surrey SAR, changes made across the country meant that the availability of police rotorcraft for this type of operation decreased after the establishment of the National Police Air Service, so it turned to drones to help fill the gap in search and rescue.

 

Consortiq sponsored some of the charity’s pilots through a training programme, which led to Surrey being the first SAR division in the UK to use drones with fully qualified operators.

 

“We thought this would be an excellent way to put a sensor – either a camera or thermal imager – in the air quite cheaply to achieve our aim of finding people quicker,” Seamus Kearns, Head of Operations at Surrey SAR, and Chief Instructor at Consortiq, says.

 

The charity has adopted several small UAVs for surveillance applications, as well as a larger system that can transport a payload such as a radio, lifejacket or defibrillator to the scene if required, which eliminates the potential risk of sending a manned team to do the job.

 

The SAR course was developed alongside the Surrey charity some 12 months ago, and Consortiq has additionally provided SAR training in Tayside and Hampshire, as well as to one customer in the Middle East.

 

“It is predominantly the UK now, but we have just launched the emergency services course over in the United States, which is being developed for fire services out there as we speak,” Kearns notes.

 

He added that Surrey SAR provides services to both the police force and fire service, which is a unique aspect, leading it to be one of the busiest out of all its counterparts in 2016.

 

“As police forces are getting cut there are less people available, so there is more and more demand for search and rescue forces as they are getting called out.”

 

Additionally, the Consortiq team is about to travel to Northern Ireland to train the police force there on how to use drones in emergency situations in line with new exemptions that have rolled out in the UK, and these personnel will be the first trained to carry this new work out.

 

“Emergency services will have the ability to fly further away than anybody else during emergency scenarios, so we will provide the equivalent of blue light driver training to the police in Northern Ireland,” Kearns says.

 

Consortiq will be at the Emergency Services Show in at the NEC in Birmingham from the 20th-21st September 2017. You can find them on stand B100 along with representatives from Surrey Search & Rescue.

The Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat was called to give assistance to a 15 metre, 60 tonne crabbing boat

The Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat was called to give assistance to a 15 metre, 60 tonne crabbing boat which got into difficulty 35 miles north west of Arranmore yesterday, Tuesday 19th with four crew members on board. The lifeboat was called out at 4pm when the trawler suffered engine failure. Weather conditions at the time were moderate with south, south east winds, force 6-7 and 3-4 metre swell. When the lifeboat reached the trawler, the crew secured a tow rope and the trawler was towed to the safety of Burtonport harbour. Lifeboat Coxswain Jimmy Early said “this was a text book rescue with favourable weather conditions and experienced fishermen who knew exactly what action to take in an emergency, they did all the right things to effect their rescue”

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Exmouth and Sidmouth lifeboats rescue four people

Photos: (Credit: Exmouth RNLI)

PR200817-1 Exmouth Crew volunteers attaching a tow rope to casualty vessel

PR200817-2 Sidmouth lifeboat towing casualty vessel

 PR200817-3 Sidmouth lifeboat Crew volunteers on board Pride of Sidmouth

PR200817-4 Exmouth D class lifeboat George Bearman II

PR200817-5 Exmouth Coastguard Response Team waiting at Mamhead slipway

As I had just finished writing this yesterday (20 August), George Bearman II  launched at 6pm following reports of a kitesurfer in difficulty in the river Exe. A concerned member of the public had called the Coastguard. When our Crew volunteers arrived on scene within 10 minutes, the man had recovered himself ashore but was looking for his board. To prevent him putting himself in any further danger, we recovered his board and the man and took them back to Imperial Recreation ground to safety.
Emma Tarling 
Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer
Exmouth RNLI

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Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat on fourteen and half hour rescue mission

The Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat responded to its third call out in a week to assist a 24metre, 245 tonne fishing boat with five people on board which got into difficulty with engine failure. The boat, which left Killybegs in the early hours of this morning, Friday 18th got into difficulty when their engine failed 10 miles north west of Glen Head. The lifeboat launched at 3 30 am and reached the casualty at 5 am. Weather conditions at the time were challenging with a two metre swell and west, south west wind of force 5-7. Having reached the fishing vessel in the dark the lifeboat managed to get a tow rope on board but the tow rope broke several times because of the weight of the boat and the high swell. Having finally secured the rope the lifeboat proceeded to tow the boat to Killybegs harbour. After a tow which took 9 hours the boat was finally safely berthed at Killybegs and the lifeboat returned to base at 6pm after refuelling at Burtonport. Lifeboat Coxswain, Jimmy Early paid tribute to the crew of the fishing vessel, “they were a very experienced fishing crew and knew exactly what was required to bring them safely ashore, now it’s bedtime, hopefully ”

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BODY BOARDER BEING CARRIED OUT TO SEA OFF BEADNELL POINT

At 18:09hr on Thursday 17th August 2017, UKCG requested the immediate launch of Seahouses Lifeboats, following a report of a female on a body board without wetsuit or lifejacket, being carried out to sea off Beadnell point. Another body board had allegedly gone into the water to try and assist the female who had gone out of sight.

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PERSON CUT OFF BY TIDE AT ROSS LINKS SANDS, NEAR HOLY ISLAND

At 15.26hr on Saturday 12th August 2017, UK Coastguard requested the launch of Seahouses Inshore Lifeboat, to assist a person cut off by the tide at Ross Links Sands, north of Bamburgh, near Holy Island. Local shore based Coastguard Rescue Teams from Holy Island, Seahouses and Berwick were also mobilised to the scene.

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