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Search crew rescues hikers with firefighter’s personal drone

After the search team became disoriented while rescuing hikers, the firefighter deployed a drone that he had been testing before the search began


By FireRescue1 Staff

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. — A firefighter’s personal drone helped a search crew safely rescue two hikers and their dog.

ABC News reported that a Bernalillo County Fire Department sent a search crew to look for the hikers, an unidentified man and woman, who had called 911 after getting lost.

Firefighters took turns carrying a dog who was stranded with hikers during the mile-and-a-half trip back to command after rescuing them. (Photo/BCFD)
Firefighters took turns carrying a dog who was stranded with hikers during the mile-and-a-half trip back to command after rescuing them. (Photo/BCFD)

Department spokesperson Lt. David Lujan said five firefighters on the ground and three back at command found the hikers after about an hour, but the crew, who had only about two hours left of daylight, became disoriented on their way back.

"They were having a difficult time finding their way back," Lujan said. "The hikers were off the beaten path."

A firefighter who had been testing his personal drone for a commander before the search happened to bring it with him, so he deployed it and it helped point the crew and hikers back to safety. 

"That was forward thinking by our guys," Lujan said.

The crew also had to deal with a 60-pound, 14-year-old dog that had become completely immobile, according to Lujan.

“He wasn't walking," Lujan said. "The dog was just lying there."

Firefighters took turns carrying the dog during the mile-and-a-half trip back to command.

At the end of the rescue, Lujan said the crew was “ecstatic,” and added that the use of the drone proved their plan to purchase two for the department is a good one.

"They were really excited they accomplished the task," he said. “This particular mission ... proved that it could work.”

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