The invention of drones brought many revolutionary changes into the world, from fighting countries without soldiers, to simplifying aerial photography/cinematography. However a recent video has shown how drones can also save lives.
A drone footage shared by the Surf Life Saving New South Wales, who monitor the beaches around the Ballina area showed how a great white shark was swimming close to a surfer in Australia and quickly swam away when a warning alarm was sounded.
The video captured professional surfer Matt Wilkinson being saved from a deadly shark attack at Sharpes Beach in Australia’s Northern New South Wales.
According to Surf Life Saving’s website it was the latest UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) which alerted Matt via a warning over the speaker, as soon as the 1.5 metre white shark surfaced just below him.
The video left many netizens scared who heaved a sigh of relief after the shark changed its way. One user commented, “Amazing to watch. Thankfully only very close call.” While some called it a lucky escape, “lucky man. it’s good that everything finished well.”
Matt Wilkinson said how the experience left him feeling “weird” as he was shown the footage when he got back to the shore. He said the realisation of how close the shark was to go for his leg left him feeling grateful and weird at the same time. He said he was happy that the shark changed its mind.
Wilkinson also called his wife since he did not want her to know about his experience through the video first. However, after seeing the life-threatening incident, she does not want him to surf for a couple of days now.
This is not the first time that the latest drone technology has warned surfers of wild marine animals. According to SSurf Life Saving, the UAVs have proven vital a few weeks ago when a large shark was spotted near competitors at the Tweed Coast Pro World Surf League event at Cabarita.
With the drone’s warning the event was postponed until the area was clear and safe for competition to start.
UAVs are being flown by Surf Life Saving NSW every day during the school holidays at beaches in Ballina, just some of the 34 beaches funded for drone flights from the NSW Government’s $8million 2020/21 NSW Shark Program and many other coastal LGAs to assist lifesavers and lifeguards protect swimmers and surfers from a range of hazards, including marine creatures.