The police drone was deployed to Corsham over the weekend to assist officers following the report of an 83-year-old woman missing late in the evening.

Believing that the lady was at a high and potentially immediate risk of harm, officers called upon specially trained police search officers, the police dog handlers, the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter and Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WILSAR) volunteers to assist in searching a wooded area near to where she was last seen.

The police drone was dispatched and arrived at the scene around 30 minutes later. The drone is equipped with a thermal imaging camera which can be viewed live by officers on the ground to help them search large areas quickly.

Within an hour, the drone located a heat source on the edge of a wooded area and on closer inspection, the outline of a person laying on the ground could be seen.

The drone hovered over the area directly above to guide officers on the ground in, and the patient was located. She had been outside for more than five hours and was suffering with exhaustion and pain as a result of the cold weather.

Special Inspector Guy Sanders, who is operational manager for the Unmanned Aviation Support Group (UASG) and remote pilot in command of the operation said

"At around 8:45pm I was called to assist community officers search a wooded area for an 83-year-old woman who had been missing for several hours. Obviously, due to her age and the dropping temperatures in the evening we were all really worried about her.

Luckily, the drone is able to cover huge areas, and the thermal camera picks up heat sources enabling us to clear the 'cold areas' quickly so we can focus on heat detail. I'm really glad we found her when we did."

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said: "Once again this new technology has saved the life of a vulnerable member of our community by getting out there, getting up there and getting the job done quickly. I am really proud of our Special Constabulary volunteers who give up their free time to do this and I'm committed to ensuring that Wiltshire remains at the forefront of technology to find new and better ways to protect our communities."


Posted 6 September 2018 at 4.22pm

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