— -- A drone became an integral part of a river rescue team yesterday.
Two boys were stranded on a rock in the middle of the Little Androscoggin River in Mechanic Falls, Maine and a drone helped get a life jacket to one of them before rescue teams went in the water, officials told ABC News today.
A teen and a young boy were tubing down the river when current was so intense they were knocked off the tube and got stranded, Poland Fire Chief Mark Bosse said.
“I guess they didn’t realize how strong the current was but they were able to get to a safe place on a rock,” he said.
Dramatic video footage from the drone shows the pair surrounded by quick-moving water and only the younger boy had a life jacket on.
As the rescue team set up to go in the water, Auburn Fire Chief Frank Roma flew his personal drone – with a rope line attached – to the teen in the water. He was then able to pull a blue life jacket to himself on the rock.
“The drone just happened to be in my vehicle and it was one of those times where the application fit the moment. Our first priority was getting the older boy a life jacket in case he slipped into the water,” Roma said.
Firefighters went out in a rescue boat and brought the younger boy to shore before going back for the teen. Roma said the duo was cold from the two-hour rescue, but had no injuries.
“The firefighters in the water did a tremendous job,” Roma said. “They were the real heroes.”