The Grand Canyon has officially become the first National Park to enlist its own fleet of drones to help locate lost hikers. The steep cliffs that make up the Grand Canyon make it dangerously easy to get lost, stranded, injured or killed. With five drones and four certified operators, this innovative service eliminates the need to risk more human lives by flying in a helicopter to do the same job.
Grand Canyon chief ranger Matt Vandzura explains that drones can offer “that same close look but without putting any people at risk. It has dramatically increased our ability to keep our people safe.”
This new take on the classic search-and-rescue mission was most recently used in the search for a woman and her step grandson after they vanished the previous weekend while attempting to cross a creek near the North Rim. Unfortunately, the search turned up empty, but the drones have still experienced success in a few other rescue missions. Hopefully other national parks will begin to catch on to this trend and adopt their own drones to ensure the nation’s most beautiful destinations are still a safe place for all.
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