Drones to the rescue

A Discovery drone, operated by Carl Sheppard, flys at Molesworth Station during an exercise by Land Search And Rescue. Carl is wearing googles that show him what cameras on the drone see, which is on a monitor viewed by searchers, Sarah Cassidy, Gavin Cattermole, Francois Bonny, orange cap, and Matt Hoggard

Drones could soon be used to help find people missing in remote parts of the country.

Search and Rescue members from around the top of the South Island met in the Molesworth Station at the weekend for a LandSAR exercise.

The teams were using unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – as part of their live scenarios.

Tasman regional SAR committee chairman John King said drones had been raised as an option by the family of German tourist Christian Prehn, missing in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

The 19-year-old was last seen on February 25 and search teams spent several days searching for him but he has not been found.

“The SAR members have never used drones at the altitude required for the search in Nelson Lakes. City rules restrict flight to 400 metres, so we need to practise to see if it would be a viable option to use in searches,” King said.

A team from Auckland which had drone experience was on site during the exercise, he said.

The SAR teams were based beside the Clarence River at the Hanmer end of Molesworth Station for the exercise.



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