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Thermal Drone Helps Find Missing Child

A 6-year-old Minnesota boy who had been missing for nearly 10 hours was spotted safe in a cornfield thanks to a drone, authorities said.

According to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, “The boy, named Ethan, had run off to play with his dog near his home in Palmer Township when he disappeared Tuesday night around 4 p.m.”

More than 600 people and numerous law enforcement agencies came together to help search for Ethan on the ground, but it was the technology in the sky that spotted the boy.

This isn’t the first time a drone has proven invaluable in a search-and-rescue operation, earlier cases of stranded swimmers, earthquake victims, and lost hikers have also been saved with the help of drones.

While many of the drones used for those missions were designed for rescue purposes, in this instance, the drone’s owner, Steve Fines, typically used it to shoot photography. But when he heard Ethan was lost, he knew he had to do what he could to help find the boy.

Ethan was spotted, with his dog Remington, around 1:50 a.m. Wednesday lying down in a cornfield a little more than a mile east of his home, Sheriff Joel Brott said in a statement.

The drone used heat-seeking technology to find the boy, officials said.

When first responders reached Ethan, he was cold but otherwise in good health, according to Brott.

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