A drone helped a hurt hiker rappel 400 feet during a daring rescue at Snow Canyon State Park in Utah on Sunday. It was the first time an unmanned aircraft was used this way by the Washington County Search and Rescue team.

Update: we just got confirmation from the Washington County Sheriff Search and Rescue that the drone in question was a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with an aftermarket drop system. Impressive!

Drone helps hurt hiker rappel 400 ft during rescue

A drone played a critical role in the rescue of a 65-year-old woman who got hurt hiking on top of Island in the Sky at Snow Canyon State Park, UT around noon on Sunday.

The woman had fallen several feet and could no longer put any weight on the injured foot. To help bring her down safely, the search and rescue team planned to rappel her down the mountain. The problem, however, was that they needed a team of four to carry all the rope up the 40-story-high top. A special gun to shoot the rope to the top that the team considered using could not reach high enough.

“We were trying some different ideas,” Darrell Cashin said, according to Fox13.

So, the team attached 660 feet of twine to the drone and send it up.

“We gave that a shot and it actually worked,” Cashin said. “The canister was light enough for the drone to handle, didn’t have too much wind and so we flew the drone all the way up to where the guys were literally right to their hand. Disconnected that, flew the drone back down.”

The twine, in turn, was connected to the main rope that was then pulled up the mountain.

“They just rappelled her off down to there and we carried her out,” Cashin said.

In December last year, a drone outfitted with a spotlight was used to assist a rescue team in the dark while helping a lost hiker on the same mountain. Cashin added that drones are also used to help locate lost hikers, send messages, and deliver small items such as a radio or a bottle of water.

“[We are] finding new ways to utilize them and find their capabilities and limitations and new things we can do with them,” Cashin said.

Three people who had joined the injured woman on the hike were also rappeled of the mountain with the help of the Washington County Search and Rescue team.

What do you think about the use of drones by search and rescue teams? Let us know in the comments below.

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