Drones Rescue Residents From Hawaii Eruption

Drones have become much more than just fun toys to fly around.  They are being used in emergency situations such as search and rescue operations.  Recently, new uses are being discovered for drones that seem like they are straight out of a movie. Earlier this week, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) used a drone to assist residents escape a lava flow in Hawaii.

The team of emergency workers used live footage from a drone to coordinate a rescue team and guide them through the safest escape route possible.  After a lava eruption, a drone helped direct and guide evacuations and managed the successful rescue of a trapped resident. The flow of lava was very fast, setting fire to everything around it.  A resident was trapped in their home in Leilani Estates. They called for help which prompted the team at the Department of Interior’s Kilauea to immediately map out the Lower East Rift Zone with a drone. The drone found and guided the resident to safety as the lava around them burnt down houses.

The analysis and data tracking used by the drone operators to the save the resident was life saving.  As the man made his way through the woods, the drone’s operators and the team tracked his progress by following the flashlight from his cell phone. The information was transmitted to the rescuers on the ground and after about 10 minutes of giving directions to the resident, contact was made and the man was taken to safety.

The operation took about two and a half hours. It’s safe to say that this drone helped to save the resident’s life.  So far, the lava has destroyed about 75 homes and left thousands of residents homeless. It has been slowly erupting lava for several weeks and experts have stated that there seems to be no end in sight.  I’m sure that drones will continue to help with rescue operations around Hawaii.

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