WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (WTHR) - For the past three months, the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department has been testing the use of drones in beach rescues.
The fire department wants to see if the drones can decrease response times to help a swimmer in distress versus a traditional lifeguard.
The drone would help monitor seas from above, assist in search and rescue by scanning down with a camera and drop a flotation device down to the swimmer who would be pulled to safety by a rope.
Officials say the new tool will not be used to replace lifeguards.
Sam Profitt of the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department says, “With the current technology, nothing beats a lifeguard. That is going to be your number one to prevent drownings, and statistics clearly prove that what we are looking at is a resource to assist them or provide rescue when they are not on the stands or working."