Thermal camera drone helped rescuers find lost kayaker within minutes

On Tuesday night, a thermal camera drone assisted rescuers in locating a lost kayaker adrift on the Deerfield River in .

got a 911 call from a guy who said he had lost communication with another kayaker on the river and had drifted downstream, unable to exit. According to Deerfield Fire Chief Darren Melnik, the missing kayaker was a man in his 30s.

According to a Facebook post by the Greenfield Fire Department, Melnik instantly asked a drone unit from the adjacent Greenfield Fire Department to assist in the search for the missing kayaker.

“Within two minutes of launching our drone with a thermal camera, we were able to locate what appeared to be an empty kayak,” the Greenfield Fire Department wrote. Members of the Deerfield Fire Department found the empty kayak and began their search for the lost kayaker along the shore.

Thermal Camera Drone Helped Rescuers Find Lost Kayaker Within Minutes

It only took a few minutes for the drone's thermal camera to locate the individual who had made their way to shore farther up the river. Deerfield fire crews were routed to the kayaker's position onshore using an app called what3words, which provides GPS information.

“They were able to make voice contact within minutes with the lost kayaker, and determined that he was injured,” the post read.

With the assistance of South County EMS, were able to rescue the kayaker using a small inflatable boat.

“Due to shallow water, the boat was manually pushed up and down the river by the firefighters to rescue the kayaker,” the post read. The kayaker was then transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Thermal Camera Drone Helped Rescuers Find Lost Kayaker Within Minutes

First reponders use thermal camera drone for good

DroneXL regularly covers stories about how drones are utilized for good. Drones equipped with thermal cameras have shown to be very successful in swiftly identifying missing humans or animals in recent years.

With drones becoming both more capable and more affordable, we hope that more crews will be able to utilize this new technology.

What do you think about using thermal camera drones by firefighters and search and rescue crews? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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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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