A drone joins rescue teams on Dubai’s beaches.
Dubai Municipality has developed the ‘Flying Rescuer’ as a first responder to drop lifebuoys to struggling swimmers while rescue teams come to their aid.
Equipped with two cameras so operators can monitor the situation, the remote controlled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can swoop down on people in distress. Its four folding arms – known as Octa-X8 – can carry up to four life-saving inflatable rings.
As the weather cools and more people head to Dubai’s beaches, the Municipality’s Coastal Rescue and Safety System strives to keep drowning deaths at zero. It’s carried out 2,139 rescues since its launch in 2016. Of these 330 were group drowning cases, where three to four people were rescued at the same time.
As 15 percent of all rescue and relief operations involve a group of beachgoers, the UAV can also remotely control the launch of rescue buoys or rafts and is equipped with a loudhailer, so rescuers can speak through it and guide swimmers to safety.
It’s built to withstand summer temperatures and has a 30-minute battery life.
Alia Al Harmoudi, Director of Environment Department at Dubai Municipality, says: “The drone can transport up to four rings to the drowning incident area, which can support up to eight drowning people at the same time. It can also be used with a rescue raft that automatically inflates when it touches the water instead of buoys to save several people at the same time. The Flying Rescuer gives the initial response to drowning so that the human rescuers have access to the situation, which makes the rescue operations on holidays and weekends easier.”
The status of Dubai’s sea and waves is updated on the Dubai Coast website – www.dubaicoast.ae – and if you’re already at the beach, remember you can connect to Wi-Fi at the solar-powered Smart Palms in Umm Suqeim 2.