Heat-Seeking Drone Leads Nighttime Kayaker Rescue

An adventurous kayaking trip turned into a nighttime rescue operation when 69-year-old Mark Thompson found himself stranded on an island in the Saco River. The Conway resident and his son had set out on the river near Diana's Bath in Bartlett with the intent to paddle downstream. However, a challenging stretch of the river resulted in both kayaks capsizing.

Although Thompson's son successfully managed to return to his vessel, Thompson himself reportedly lost his boat, opting instead to swim towards shore. He was last observed around 2 p.m., trudging onshore towards Route 16.

Upon receiving the report around 7:30 p.m., Conway activated a comprehensive search operation. This involved a joint effort between the North Conway and Bartlett Fire and Police Departments, Center Conway Fire Department, and the Fish and Game.

The mission culminated close to 11 p.m. when a drone equipped with a thermal camera, employed by Center Conway Fire, identified a heat source on an island in the Bartlett part of the river. Using a rubber rescue boat, the team managed to reach the island and found Thompson shortly after midnight.

Fortunately, despite the harrowing ordeal, Thompson was found unharmed, bringing a relieving conclusion to the tense search operation.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, 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 @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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