Search And Rescue Goes High Tech

Over the weekend crews with Texas EquuSearch used a drone to help locate the body of a missing Liberty County boy. The drone is just one of several pieces of high tech equipment used to locate missing people.

The body of two year old Devin Davis was located in a pond that was so full of algae, a boat couldn’t be used because the vegetation got stuck in the propeller.

It was a drone aircraft that eventually spotted the body from the air. EquuSearch’s Ken DeFoor says the drone belongs to an EquuSearch volunteer.

“He builds these and sells them commercially. He’s also a member of Texas EquuSearch. And when we have a search similar to this where we need aerial surveillance, we can call Gene in.”

DeFoor says the drone is similar to some of the ones we’ve become accustomed to seeing in war footage.

“This drone measures probably four feet long. It’s a Delta wing aircraft, has a digital camera mounted in the belly with a push propeller on it and of course its remote controlled, flown very similar to a remote controlled air plane.”

The drone isn’t the only high tech equipment being used by search and rescuers. And to think when EquuSearch was originally founded, many of the searches were done on horseback.

“We hardly use horses at all now. We’ve gone to side scan sonar in the water, ground penetrating radar, a number of high tech pieces of equipment.”

That high tech equipment appears to be paying off as evidenced by EquuSearch’s track record of recovering bodies. In this latest case in Liberty County, authorities were a little more than an hour away from calling off the search. I asked DeFoor if he thinks the little two year old would have ever been found without the drone.

“That lake is full of alligators. Who knows what would have happened, he might have never been found.”