World first drone rescue at Lennox Head

Drone malfunctions days after unmanned rescue

SURF Lifesaving NSW has denied reports one of its Little Ripper rescue drones crash landed after a malfunction at Byron Bay.

Lifesavers were undergoing training with one of the $8000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) at Wategoes Beach about midday on Saturday when one of its five rotors failed.

Operations manager, Brent Maneri said the lifesavers and the Little Ripper training team conducted a "controlled landing" in the water away from beach-goers.

"It definitely wasn't a crash landing," Mr Maneri said.

"We'd rather lose a UAV or have the electrics fry than put any member of the public at risk."

Mr Maneri said an incident investigation that finished yesterday found that some of the bolts securing the problematic rotor had sheared and stopped it from working.

He described the malfunction as being "similar to a car recall for a minor issue". The training drone will be sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.

Inspections were undertaken on the two operational drones patrolling beaches at Evans and Lennox Head and Byron Bay as part of the NSW Government's $430,000 beach drone program. Both were found to have no faults.

The mishap came just days after the drone was used to rescue two teens caught in a rip on Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head.



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