Professional DJI drone with thermal camera guides hiker back to safety

A professional DJI drone with a FLIR Systems thermal camera guides a fallen hiker back to safety in the dark. The man got stranded early Tuesday morning but was able to call 911 to ask for help.

Professional DJI drone with thermal camera guides hiker back to safety

The hiker had fallen several feet off a trail north of Devils Punchbowl State Park area, as he clung to a rock face.

Depoe Bay rescuers used a professional DJI drone, likely a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual, with a thermal camera to guide the fallen hiker to safety north of Devils Punchbowl State Park in Otter Rock, . The man got slightly hurt from the fall but was otherwise ok.

The rescue crew responded shortly before 6 am on Tuesday and deployed the professional DJI drone with a thermal camera. Kevin Dykes, a Depoe Bay Engineer/Paramedic piloted the drone and was able to locate the stranded hiker in the dark using the thermal camera.

Professional Dji Drone With Thermal Camera Guides Hiker Back To Safety

Depoe Bay Fire Engineer/Paramedic, Kevin Dykes flies drone number 21. Dykes was able to launch the drone within minutes and plot a path for the stranded hiker to safely climb down the rocks on his own. the FLIR Thermal camera was crucial during the operation. The ‘drones prohibited' sign makes the photo even better. The lights in the background show the drone in mid-flight.

Dykes proceeded to guide the hiker back to safety, suing the thermal imaging feed to keep an eye on the man and instruct him where to go. The man had to navigate part of the ridge and wade through the ocean to get to the , reports the Lincoln city Homepage.

Profession DJI drones and other unmanned aircraft outfitted with thermal camera make a huge difference in the ability to quickly locate people. The heat signature makes persons easily visible in the dark, especially against a cold background such as rocks or ocean water.

YouTube video

Professional Dji Drone With Thermal Camera Guides Hiker Back To Safety 1

The hiker was checked out by emergency personnel. He was cold and wet but suffered 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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Photo and video courtesy of Depoe Bay Fire.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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