Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hiker clinging to rock face rescued via drone by Depoe Bay firefighters

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Depoe Bay Devils Punchbowl Rescue

Depoe Bay rescuers used a drone with thermal imaging early Tuesday morning to guide a fallen hiker to safety north of Devils Punchbowl State Park in Otter Rock.

(Video courtesy of Depoe Bay Fire District)

The man, who slightly injured his leg in the incident, called 911 after falling several feet off a trail north of Devils Punchbowl State Park area, as he clung to a rock face.

Rescue units responded shortly before 6 a.m. and deployed a professional DJI drone — made exclusively for first responders — piloted by Depoe Bay Engineer/Paramedic Kevin Dykes. Dykes was able to locate the man using FLIR thermal imaging to map out a path to rescue in the pitch black night. Firefighters used their lights to shine a path for the man to navigate a ridge. Fire officials said the man had to walk through part of the ocean to get to first responders, made possible by low tide.

Depoe Bay Fire Engineer/Paramedic Kevin Dykes piloting Drone 21 (the red lights in the background). Engineer Dykes was able to launch this within minutes and plotted a path for the victim to climb down the rocks on his own thanks to the use of the drone’s onboard FLIR camera.

Thermal imaging makes it easy for rescuers to see details, such as people and land, which give off heat and show up as white on video, even in complete darkness.

After being guided to safety, waiting emergency personnel checked out the hiker and found him cold and wet with no serious injuries.

“We purchased this drone just for situations like this,” Depoe Bay Fire District Chief Bryan Daniels said. “Having a drone capable of carrying payloads, we can get a lifeline to people or a life jacket in rough conditions.”

Daniels said using a drone keeps rescuers out of harm’s way and has paid for itself as a helicopter doesn’t need to be called in if a drone can do the job.

Newport Fire Department and Pacific West Ambulance helped coordinate the rescue.

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Justin Werner
Justin Wernerhttps://wernerhost.com/
Justin is publisher of Lincoln City Homepage and an investigative journalist who finds facts. He's on a mission to seek out truth and isn't afraid to be the tip of the spear for freedom of the press.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad the guy was seriously injured. One thing I find unfathomable about
    things like this, is people get into situations that require rescue, put other
    people, albeit volunteers often at risk, and then just walk away.
    I have never fallen off a cliff, there is an edge, and a point at which further
    ingress is just suicidal. Hopefully all rescuees don’t go for a second try.

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