A hostage situation in the Belgian town of Halle ended in a very remarkable way last weekend. The police used a drone to drop handcuffs on a hostage-taker who was about to surrender. After the suspect handcuffed himself, the police were able to arrest him. As far as is known, it is the first time that a police drone has been used in this way.
Belgian police drone drops handcuffs at hostage-taker
The hostage drama started early Sunday morning. Local residents were startled by a shouting man who stated that he had been kidnapped from Brussels by several men earlier in the morning. The man had been taken by his hostage-takers to an empty house, but he managed to escape through an open window. One of the residents who heard the shout immediately alerted the police.
Soon the house was surrounded by local police officers and special forces from the DSU. One suspect immediately surrendered, but two other hostage-takers did not dare to leave the house. They were persuaded to open a shutter and make themselves visible behind the window. A short time later one of them left the building after all.
Police then decided to fly a drone into the house with handcuffs attached. The third suspect threw the drone aside, handcuffed himself, and then let himself be charged. A fourth suspect was found in the attic of the building after a search with the help of a police dog. The suspects have yet to be heard.
As far as we know, it is the first time that a drone is used in this way during a hostage-taking action. In the US, while police forces already use microdrones to scout homes during hostage-taking situations, never before has a drone been used to transfer handcuffs.
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