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UAV (drone) used in attempt to locate injured man from a collision
Monday, November 13, 2017

On Monday, 13 November 2017, at 1448 Hours, your Millville Volunteer Fire Company was alerted for an automobile accident in the 32000 block of Powell Farm Road. Additional units alerted consisted of Sussex County Paramedic Unit 105, manned by Paramedic G. Evans, Delaware State Police and DSP Medevac. 

It was learned by arriving units that the driver of the vehicle had fled on foot. Physical evidence and witness accounts indicated the driver sustained a head wound. The male driver escaped into an adjoining woods using a towel in an effort to control the blood flowing from his head.

Ocean View P.D. Officer Bowden, Officer Caselli, and Delaware State Police were futile in their attempt to locate the injured driver in the area. DSP Medevac was not available due to weather conditions. The author of this post was notified and subsequently requested to respond with an Unmanned Arial Vehicle (Drone) in an attempt to locate this injured person. In addition, Officer First Class Harrington from the Ocean View Police Department retrieved their drone which utilizes "heat-seeking" capabilities. If you look closely at the pictures of the tablet in Officer Harrington's hands, you will notice a deer which indicates the camera is operating properly.

Incidentally, this is the first use of our recently acquired UAV's. Officer Harrington and I (Tony Petralia) just concluded advanced training in searching maneuvers among others last Thursday from Delaware Emergency Management Administration Coordinator, Paige Fitzgerald. We are both FAA Certified Pilots in these types of aircrafts.

After an exhausted grid search of the area, the individual was not located. Given the time that expired between the time of the collision to the time in which the drones were requested and deployed, this could be expected. We have confidence that once the Drone Program is fully instituted, the time in which they will be deployed will be greatly diminished due to public safety organizations recognizing these type of aircraft will be readily available upon their request.

Officer Harrington and I wish to thank all the public safety first responders that assisted us in utilizing this new tool in our arsenal. The Fire-Police did their customary great job of keeping interested citizens out of our fly-zone.

Chief’s Doug Scott and John Watson had their manpower in place for any abnormal occurrences that may have occurred.

Once the UAV video is downloaded and analyzed by Officer Harrington, it will be posted for all to see how beneficial this aircraft will be in the very near future.

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