NC man uses drone to help rescue lost kayaker

John Frink used his drone to show rescue boats a clear path to a lost kayaker. (Source: WECT)

SUNSET BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – A Sunset Beach man used his own drone to help law enforcement rescue a lost kayaker.

John Frink bought the drone at the beginning of this year and said he uses it as a hobby, but this time was different.

Police and firemen saw the lost kayaker from their viewpoint on the bridge, but couldn’t find a clear path to reach him.

That’s where Frink came in.

“I got a call here 10:30 a.m. saying, ‘Go ahead and wake up. Get out here and bring your drone,'” Frink said. “By the time I got there, there was two cop cars, a firetruck, and I saw the kayaker in the distance.”

Rescue boats had trouble navigating the creeks along the Intracoastal Waterway, so Frink provided key items to the kayaker while he waited.

“They knew he had diabetes and he was elderly so they had the idea to string up a bottle of water. I hung it from the drone and carried it to him,” Frink explained. “All he had to do was take the lid off and you can see on the video he started drinking right then. He was thirsty.”

His work was not finished. the boats still needed to find a way to the kayak. They entrusted Frink and his drone to lead the way.

“They were unable to get to them at first. They ran into oyster rocks, they didn’t know which creek to use to get to them,” said Frink. “I just flew up high enough to where I could get a good vantage point.”

With the help of the drone, the rescue boats located the kayaker and brought him back to safety. Frink says people should consider using drones in the future to save money and time.

“Instead of the sheriff department having to take off in their expensive helicopter, I can immediately get to anyone within a two-mile range and see how they are doing. I can get lower, I can fly slower, and I can fly better than a helicopter can,” Frink said.

Frink says members from the police and fire departments on the scene were impressed with the drones capabilities and said they want to use drones in their departments in the future.

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