Drones are helping lifeguards save lives


When a 14-year-old boy was in danger of drowning off the Spanish shores of Valencia last month, help came in an unusual form: a drone.

Within seconds of spotting trouble, lifeguards used walkie-talkies to notify trained drone pilots to fly one over to the child. The drone battled crosswinds and hovered a few feet over the boy, dropping an auto-inflating life vest. Shortly after the child put the vest on, a lifeguard arrived on a personal watercraft to bring him back to shore.

The rescue mission relied on technology from General Drones, a Spanish company that offers a preview into summers of the future: one where sun-kissed lifeguards can use drones to help respond to potential drownings quicker.

The technology has gained traction in Spain, where it’s being used on nearly two dozen beaches. In other countries, including the United States, lifeguards are also using drones as an extra set of eyes.

Lifesaving drones provide a crucial benefit, lifeguards and…