This video shows the amazing moment that a police drone team found a missing pensioner.
And the family of Roy Giblin, 82, has said that ‘he didn’t stand a chance’ without the assistance of the drone.
The life-saving drone rescue came just weeks after North Wales Police launched its UAS unit – with the assistance of heliguy™ who has supplied the Force with the drone hardware and trained its pilots.
Lead pilot Sergeant Paul Terry said: “If the drone hadn’t of been there, Mr Giblin wouldn’t have been seen. It’s very likely he wouldn’t have been located that night and his life was saved because of that tactic.”
How The Drone Saved A Life
Mr Giblin had been missing for almost 24 hours and a huge search had been carried out before he was found safe on the evening of Tuesday, June 8.
Search and rescue teams and the RNLI searched the waters off North Wales, with the National Police Air Service (NPAS), police officers and the drone unit involved in the search.
With the ability to search close to the ground and carry out a detailed imaging inspection from above – something a helicopter is unable to do – the aircraft was able to oversee where officers were searching on foot to locate Mr Giblin.
Thanks to the drone, Mr Giblin was eventually located in an overgrown grassy area near to Abergele train station – as these series of images show.
Sergeant Paul Terry said it was “very likely” Mr Giblin’s life was saved using the modern technology.
He added: “What’s critical about this story is that we were working with local officers who were doing a huge amount of foundational work looking for CCTV sightings in the last location that we’d seen him and manually on the ground searching with teams looking across the area.
“As we searched along the train line, we had a sighting of him in some very long grass around 4ft high, away from the area where the ground team were searching.
“But because we had aerial cover, it could capture an area wider than what they were searching for visually.
“It was when we saw a disturbance in the pattern of grass, we noticed his head poking out over the really long grass.”
He added: “I’d say this was the most significant find we’ve had in the two months since launching.”
Mr Giblin’s granddaughter, Lauren Delaney, thanked everyone involved in the search.
The 30-year-old said: “As soon as I heard the news that he’d been found, I just burst into tears.
“It’s overwhelming. If they’d not had the drone, he would probably have still been there now, we wouldn’t have had a clue where he was, and he wouldn’t even be here. Without that drone, he didn’t stand a chance.”
Drones For Police: North Wales Police’s Drone Programme
North Wales Police’s full-time pilot team of five officers was launched on April 1, providing a new level of aerial cover to the Force, with assistance from six original part-time pilots.
heliguy™ has provided industry-specific training to the police drone team – pictured below – and supplied the equipment to support the programme.
The new drone team was created to bring a new advantage to the Force in tackling crime, making safer neighbourhoods and saving lives.
It works alongside the National Police Air Service (NPAS) to provide additional air support to the Force in the same way NPAS has traditionally done.
But in addition to NPAS, the team provides a wider range of functions, including evidential scene photography and video, internal building searches, oversight for urgent and pre-planned warrants and filming reconstructions.
Another recent successful operation included locating a critically injured man who had fallen from height in a quarry.
The team has also assisted in the discovery of a £1.5 million cannabis cultivation; locating a fleeing suspect in possession of drugs and weapons and guiding dog handlers to intercept offenders after they had fled from a vehicle during a pursuit.
Since launching in April, the team has been deployed to more than 250 incidents and logged over 50 flying hours.
With its enhanced flight time, ability to fly in wet weather, and with powerful zoom and thermal capabilities, the DJI M300 RTK and H20T sensor is proving a powerful and effective solution.
Sgt Terry said: “The helicopter can do all of these things too, but at a greater expense.
“We can be deployed alongside officers on the ground to multiple locations during an operation over a number of hours, carrying out multiple flights throughout an operation and at much lower cost.
“We can also pre-programme the drone to fly a particular route to make sure we are covering all of the search area accurately.
“The use of these aircraft will be used to serve the public in making North Wales a safer place to live.”