Drone helps with Mechanic Falls river rescue

A 12-year-old boy was wearing a life jacket, while an 18-year-old man was not.

The drone had a haul line attached to it and flew to the middle of the river, Roma said. After the 18-year-old untied the line, he pulled over a life jacket from the shore and put it on.

Auburn firefighters rescued both in an inflatable rescue boat, with help from other firefighters and members of the Maine Warden Service, Roma said. The drone took video footage of the rescue.

img AFD drone Drone helps with Mechanic Falls river rescue

“I think we’ve only begun to scratch the surface for what their full capabilities can be in the emergencies field,” Roma said. “I was able to see exactly what the drone was seeing. I was able to direct it to where it needed to be.”

Drones could be used for search-and-rescue missions as well as helping to look for lost people, Roma said. The drone had been used to document training work by firefighters. “It’s just one tool in our toolbox,” he said.


The Poland, Mechanic Falls and Oxford fire departments also responded to the call for help, which went out just after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

drone 6 JPG Drone helps with Mechanic Falls river rescue

The 12-year-old and 18-year-old were rescued around 5:40 p.m., an Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said.

In an email to WMTW News 8, the 12-year-old’s father said, “We are grateful to the crews for their work and getting them of safely, and they have learned a valuable lesson from this.”

Firefighters on the coast were also busy with a river rescue Tuesday.

Members of the Brunswick and Topsham fire departments responded to a call about kayakers on a small island in the Androscoggin River after their kayaks overturned, a dispatcher said. The kayakers had returned to shore after 4 p.m.

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