How A Drone Helped Rescue A Climber

Jul 22, 2018
Originally published on July 22, 2018 9:41 am
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KORVA COLEMAN, HOST:

High-altitude searches are a risky business. When a climber goes missing in places like the Himalayas, the thin air, avalanches and hidden crevasses can mean danger for rescue climbers. So let us introduce the hero of our story, the DJI Mavic Pro drone. It was used earlier this month to help find Scottish mountaineer Rick Allen. He went missing after a solo attempt to set a new route on Pakistan's Broad Peak, sitting at over 26,000 feet. Other climbers thought he had died. It turns out Allen had survived a 100-foot fall and spent the next 36 hours hanging on.

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COLEMAN: Luckily, another team on a nearby peak was using a drone to film their exploits. Soon, its cameras were switched from a vanity project to a search mission, and Rick Allen was spotted and rescued. It was quite the feat for the Mavic Pro. It's designed to work at a maximum altitude of a bit over 16,000 feet. And here it was around 10,000 feet higher. In the cold, its batteries could have conked out. Instead, because of the little drone that could, Rick Allen was rescued, suffering nothing more than a few cuts and bit of frostbite. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.