Norfolk police use drone to rescue man stranded in marshland

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 June 2018 in News
News

Missing man spotted on images provided by flying device

Police in Norfolk used a drone to find a man stranded in marshland.

Peter Pugh, a 75-year-old man from Brancaster, went missing on Saturday afternoon during a walk on the village’s beach with friends and family. 

After authorities were notified of his disappearance, officers from Norfolk Constabulary began searching for Pugh on Saturday evening. They were joined by representatives from HM Coastguard, RNLI crews from Hunstanton and Wells, and the Norfolk Lowland and Search Service. Searches continued throughout Saturday night and into the following day. 

The efforts to find the missing man included the use of live images provided by a police drone. According to the police, at 2.35pm on Sunday June 17, sergeant Danny Leach – who was operating the drone – spotted Pugh “stuck in very dense reed beds and marshland” in Titchwell, a couple of miles from Brancaster.


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A team from HM Coastguard and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service was guided to Pugh’s location by sergeant Leach. The rescuers pulled the man free of a “deep muddy creek” and administered first aid until a helicopter airlifted Pugh to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, where he is receiving treatment for hypothermia.

Sergeant Alex Bucher, who was involved in co-ordinating the search operation, paid tribute to the 50 people who took part.

“This is a great example of multi-agency working at its best and, through our teamwork, we were able to successfully locate Peter and return him back to his family on Father’s Day,” Butcher said. “There is no doubt that without the police drone we would not have been able to locate him in the time we did. The police drone allows us to search areas that are difficult to access and within close range where a helicopter may not be able to get.” 

Norfolk police first trialled the use of drones about a year ago. The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green claimed the rescue of Peter Pugh shows the value technology can provide in modern policing.

He added: “Having pledged to give our officers the 21st century tools, including drones, that they need to keep our county safe, it’s incidents like this that demonstrate just how relevant that pledge was and continues to be.” 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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