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Drones for good: Teenager rescues 4 drowning fishermen off Kerala coast with drone

By Chris Stonor

A 19-year-old engineering student is a hero in Kerala State on the Southwestern Malabar Coast of India, after he saved four drowning fishermen in the Arabian sea with the help of a drone, reports hindustantimes.com.

After a missing boat off Nattika beach in Thrissur with four fishermen on-board was reported missing earlier this week, 19 year-old Devang Subil, approached the preparing rescuers stating he could help them find the trawler with his drone. Initially, no one was willing to listen and some even shooed him away, saying it was not child’s play. Yet, after Nattika legislator Geetha Gopi heard his plea she approached the police and rescue officials and Subil managed to board a rescue boat with his drone.

Subil said, “When the boat reached 11 nautical miles away from the coast I released my drone. Initially, the wind created problems, but after 20 minutes or so my craft captured images of a man clinging on to the side of a capsized boat which were then sent as visuals to my mobile phone.”

He then explained the rescuers diverted their vessels to the spot where the first man was found and rescued him. Later, 300 metres away from the spot, they found two others and they too were picked up.  The fourth fisherman took another hour to find. Subil continued, “The man was on the verge of drowning from exhaustion. Minutes after his rescue, he lost consciousness.” All four are now undergoing treatment at a hospital in Thrissur. They spent almost six hours in the sea, but one managed to send an SOS to the shore.

Geetha Gopi enthused, “We salute the youngster whose timely intervention saved four lives. He showed us how new innovations can help rescue missions. I have already approached the government with a suggestion to honour him.”

The Kerala Fishing Boat Operator’s Association said it was the first time a drone camera had been used to save fishermen from seas in south India. It is planning to submit a proposal to the state fisheries department to deploy more drones and train rescuers to use them.

Subil, a second year B.Tech student of Bnegaluru’s Christ University, had returned to Kerala after his college shut due to the pandemic.

(News Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com)

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