Franklin County Deputy uses drone to find lost hunters

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Two hunters who were lost in the woods Monday night are safe thanks in part to a high tech drone.

Monday, around 8 p.m., The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) got a call that two hunters were lost in the woods at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Sgt. Nick Williams was called to the scene right away.

“There was a sense of urgency due to the weather,” he said.

It was snowing and the temperature was dropping.

Sgt. Williams is one of FCSO’s drone pilots. He’s been flying them for a total of roughly four years. He’s flown them for the FCSO for about three years.

“As soon as I got up it was seconds to find them, the biggest hurdle was getting through the brush in the thick woods,” Sgt. Williams said.

The drone can use several different types of cameras. The one used Monday night was a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera.

“It picks up the body heat your body puts off,” Sgt. Williams said.

Temperatures and things like that, so it uses the temperatures to be able to highlight certain areas.”

While Sgt. Williams was using the drone, other deputies were walking through the woods trying to find the hunters. William was able to guide to the two parties through the woods until they met up with each other. The deputies were also communicating with the radios. Then once the deputies and hunters were together,

Sgt. Williams was able to use a spot light to help lead them out of the woods.

“They were mighty thankful, they were just happy they were able to get out and get out of the cold weather,” Sgt. Williams. “When I first found them on the camera I was like yes, and then seeing them actually come out of the woods I was just thankful they were able to come out safely.”

Sgt. Williams says the FCSO’s drones are used at least two to three times a week, mostly for search and rescues.

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