Derby

Buxton Mountain Rescue first to be given drone approval by CAA

Buxton Mountain Rescue to use drones to search for missing people Image copyright Buxton Mountain Rescue
Image caption Buxton Mountain Rescue has been granted permission to use drones by the Civil Aviation Authority

A mountain rescue team has become the first in England and Wales to be given permission to use drones in searching for missing people.

Buxton Mountain Rescue, in Derbyshire, will be able to fly the unmanned aircraft into places hard or unsafe for team members to reach on call-outs.

The special approval was granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Almost £10,000 was raised for the project, which began 18 months ago, to buy the drones and train the pilots.

Buxton now has eight specialist trained pilots, known locally as the "Drone Team", to help find people in the Peak District area.

Image copyright Buxton Mountain Rescue
Image caption The drones will be used alongside rescuers on the ground and search dogs

Team leader Neil Carruthers said getting the approval shows the CAA has "confidence that the systems and procedures" in place are safe and effective.

He added: "The drones will allow the team to search areas such as boulder fields, water margins, moorlands, crags and difficult ground.

"The drone technology will complement our other search resources such as team members on the ground and the search dogs."

Image caption The project to use drones for rescues has been running since 2017

The team said it believed using drones could speed up detection and reduce the risk of injury to rescuers as it can fly further, wider and faster than a person.

Their project to use drones for rescues was started by two team members, Roger Bennett and Carney Turner, in 2017.

It was funded with donations from local councils, individuals and local charitable organisations.

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