Lost kayaker found safe thanks to thermal imagery drone technology
A Pine Belt woman set out on what was going to be a kayaking adventure but lost her way in the backwaters of the DeSoto National Forest.
FORREST COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Forrest County Emergency Management responded to a call over the weekend.
“The fortunate thing for her is that she had a plan,” said Glen Moore, executive director.
Around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, multiple agencies began their efforts to locate a stranded kayaker.
“She wasn’t dressed for anything overnight,” said Tim Gordy, area coordinator for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) District 8. “She had on a pair of shorts and a shirt.”
A two-hour kayak adventure, now an overnight rescue mission within a remote area of the DeSoto National Forest. No cell phone, no flashlight and only a couple of bottles of water. Her concerned husband contacted law enforcement.
“She missed her take-out point of the creek, where the canoe rentals go and pick the kayakers back up,” said Moore.
Due to low water levels along Black Creek, crews could not send boats upstream. That’s when MEMA used their thermal imagery drone to locate the woman.
“A lot of times, the weather may not be very cooperative, so our thermal and spotlights definitely helped in those aspects,” said Gordy.
The woman was found ten miles past the exit location.
“The most important thing is to make sure somebody knows where you’re going to be, how long you anticipate being on the water trip, and where you’re going to take out at,” added Moore.
Moore and Gordy agree that having a plan is always number one.
“We’re just glad she was found safe and unharmed, and we got to her as soon as we did,” said Gordy.
After four years of operation, officials said MEMA’s drone program has proved crucial to first responders statewide.
Want more WDAM 7 news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2022 WDAM. All rights reserved.