Drone Saves Life of Intoxicated Teen Lost in Pitch-Black Field

Lakewood Police Use Infrared Drone to Locate Unresponsive Boy

Lakewood used a drone equipped with an infrared camera to rescue an intoxicated teen who had wandered off into a dark field on May 10. The teen was found unresponsive and not breathing, but officers were able to revive him with CPR.

According to Lakewood police, they responded to a call around 9pm about “a group of intoxicated juveniles” near the Mills Mall. The teens told officers their friend, who was “very intoxicated,” had gone missing after walking off into “a large open field, with no lighting, just pitch-black open space.”

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Agent Bacon requested a drone operator to assist in the search. Agent Taylor arrived with a drone outfitted with an infrared camera capable of seeing in the dark. Using the camera, Taylor spotted “what appeared to be a small person laying down in brush.”

Taylor directed agents on the ground to the teen's location. They found him not breathing and immediately began CPR. Police said their “efforts allowed a young boy a second chance at life” and that the teen “likely would not have survived” without the drone's assistance.

“Without the use of the drone on this call, agents may not have located the teen in time to save his life,” Lakewood Police said.

The department's drone team, established in 2018, has aided in , evidence collection, accident documentation, suspect/victim location, and SWAT operations.

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DroneXL's Take

This incident highlights the life-saving potential of drones when strategically deployed by . Police, , and rescue personnel are increasingly leveraging to enhance their capabilities and improve outcomes in critical situations.

Drones allow responders to quickly cover large areas, access difficult terrain, and gather crucial data to inform tactical decisions. The infrared imaging used in this case was pivotal in locating the unresponsive teen in dark conditions where a traditional ground search may have taken too long.

As more public safety agencies adopt drones, proper training, clear protocols, and specialized equipment will be key to maximizing their benefits. This teen's rescue is a testament to the preparedness and skilled application of drones by the Lakewood Police Department.

With continued advancement in drone technology and integration into emergency response workflows, we can expect to see more stories of lives saved thanks to these nimble aerial assets. Drones are proving to be a game-changing tool for first responders when every second counts.

Photo courtesy of the Lakewood Police Department, The Denver Post, The City of Lakewood.


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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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