Drone Photographer’s Beach Outing Turns into Life-Saving Rescue Mission

Quick Thinking and Drone Skills Help Locate Capsized Kayaker

In a remarkable turn of events, a drone photographer's casual beach outing with his dogs transformed into a life-saving rescue mission. Mike Busch, the photographer behind Great South Bay Images, initially set out to capture some seals with his drone at Moriches Inlet. However, his plans took a dramatic shift when another kayaker approached him, inquiring about the whereabouts of his friend.

Drone Deployed to Track Kayaker's Location

Sensing the urgency of the situation, Busch used his drone to zoom out and quickly spotted the capsized kayaker being swept away by the outgoing tide. Without hesitation, he called 911, expecting the Coast Guard at Moriches to respond swiftly. As the kayaker disappeared into the breakers, Busch offered to deploy his drone to track the individual's location, receiving the go-ahead from the authorities.

“He ended up drifting due south at least a half mile,” Busch recounted in a Facebook post. “I found him and stayed there until the Suffolk County Department chopper arrived and I safely got out of the way.”

Race Against Time: Rescue Efforts Underway

As precious minutes ticked by, Busch feared the worst, stating, “At this point, I thought it was going to be a recovery and not a rescue.”

The photographer remained at the scene until the Suffolk County Police arrived, approximately 15 minutes later. After an agonizing half-hour, the Eastport Fire Department boat finally reached the kayaker and pulled him to safety, while the police boat retrieved the kayak.

The rescued individual, whose life hung in the balance, was airlifted to Stony Brook Hospital in . Miraculously, he is expected to make a full recovery, thanks in large part to the dry suit he was wearing. Busch emphasized the critical role of the protective gear, saying, “If he didn't have a dry suit on he would have been a goner.”

Serendipitous Timing and Swift Action Save a Life

Reflecting on the incredible chain of events, Busch marveled at the serendipitous timing that allowed him to be in the right place at the right time. “When [I] think of all the variables that came into place to be able to call this in it boggles the mind. If I had been there five minutes later it probably doesn't end well,” he shared on Instagram.

The drone photographer's quick thinking, coupled with the swift response of the , ultimately saved a life that day. Busch's story serves as a testament to the power of being prepared and the importance of taking action when faced with an emergency situation.

Note: this event took place in February of 2024, however I decided to still run this story as it shows how drones can make all the difference when it comes to saving lives!

Photo courtesy of Mike Bush.

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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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