Lifesaving drones used to rescue swimmers off French coast

At 80 kilometers an hour, the 3.9-kilogram drone buzzes to the danger spot four minutes faster than a lifeguard and is programmed to neatly drop a life buoy to the water.

8 August 2017 | 17:22

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 8 August 2017 | 17:22

A rescue drone carries an inflatable life belt during a training flight operation in the Atlantic beach of Biscarrosse, southwestern France, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo)

PARIS: It could be the "Baywatch" of the future.

A cutting-edge life-saving initiative — the rescue drone — is taking flight again this summer off France's popular Atlantic beaches.

Following a successful launch in 2016, three airborne life-saver drones are being operated in the southwestern Nouvelle-Aquitaine region until September to come to the aid of swimmers struggling in the choppy water.

At 80 kilometers an hour, the 3.9-kilogram drone buzzes to the danger spot four minutes faster than a lifeguard and is programmed to neatly drop a life buoy to the water.

Anthony Gavend, from drone manufacturing company HELPER, says Tuesday the time gained "means the difference between life and death."

Gavend said it was the first such initiative in the world and helped some 50 swimmers in difficulty last year.

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