An elderly male, who was reported missing by a family member, was located in the densely wooded area of the former tannery site near Belle Park, through the use of the Kingston Police Traffic Safety Unit’s new drone.
A cell phone ping at approximately 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, indicated that the 80-year-old was in the area near the Kingston Rowing Club, according to a release from Kingston Police. Nearby witnesses were canvassed and believed they observed a person matching the man’s description wandering into the densely wooded area of the former tannery site, located off of River and Orchard Streets, just south of Belle Park.
Police requested a member of the Traffic Safety Unit attend the scene with the new drone, a DJI Matrice 300 UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). While predominantly used for overhead images of collision reconstruction scenes involving life-altering injuries or death, it has additional capabilities for the organization, including search and rescue, according to the release. Police said it is equipped with both a powerful zoom camera, infrared and night vision cameras, plus a floodlight.
Shortly after placing the drone above the forested area, the elderly male was located by the Traffic Safety officer using the infrared camera. Police said that at approximately 10 p.m. officers on the ground were then directed to the man’s location where he was safely escorted out of the brush, medically cleared by paramedics and returned home to his family.
Kingston Police remind the community to download the free iOS or Android app, what3words, that has been adopted and used by Kingston Police and other emergency responders in the Kingston area. In Ontario, there have already been numerous stories of how missing or injured individuals have been quickly located due to the technology, according to police. More information on the app and its functionality from a Kingston perspective can be found on the City of Kingston’s website.