‘Need urgent help’: Man’s drone hack prompts flood rescue
A MAN managed to fly a mobile phone strapped to a drone high enough to send a distress message after his family, including a young baby, became stranded by floodwater on a remote Far North road.
The four adults and six-month-old child were descending the Kirrama Range Road west of Tully on Monday, when they became caught between two fast rising creeks.
With no phone reception in the area they were forced to spend a wet, miserable night on the roadside in a tent. But Cassowary Coast police Insp Steve Kersley said one of the group, a 30-year-old man, managed to use a drone with phone attached to fly high enough to send a text message.
He said the message was sent to the man's father and included their latitude and longitude, saying they "need urgent help" after their car was broken down and boxed in by floodwater.
The message also said they had plenty of provisions and were safe and warm in the tent, but needed assistance.
Insp Kersley said a search party, including police, local SES volunteers from Cardwell and Cassowary Coast Regional Council staff with a front end loader, set out early Tuesday morning. He said they had to cut through six fallen trees and shift two landslides before reaching the group about 1.30pm.
"They located the persons safe and well and returned to Cardwell where they are being looked after by family," he said.
It was one of three significant rescues emergency services were called to in the Cassowary Coast area due to flooding from ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen.
Insp Kersley said seven people had to be picked up from the Bulgun National Park area outside Tully on Tuesday night.
He said the group had driven three vehicles into the area and were at a site called Alligator's Nest where water rose and trapped them. A man also had to be rescued from the roof of his car, which became inundated in floodwater at South Johnstone on Tuesday night.
Insp Kersley urged people to reconsider travelling to remote areas during severe weather events and to let people know where you are going and consider carrying a personal EPIRB.
Originally published as 'Need urgent help': Man's genius drone hack prompts flood rescue