POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County Fire Rescue used drone technology to spot what crews couldn't see from the ground — a hiker in distress.
At 12:46 p.m. on Friday, the department received reports of a stranded hiker at Tigers Creek Preserve.
Crews arrived and launched a drone to begin searching for the person on a rural trail.
"From an aerial view through specialized cameras, the drone was able to see what crews on the ground could not allowing PCFR to successfully locate the individual and render aid," PCFR wrote.
Polk County's drone program, which launched in 2019, is used to conduct missions for search and rescue, HAZMAT team deployment, major disaster scenes and storm damage assessment.
“Our drone program is essential to the commitment of the department’s 21st Century all-hazards preparedness,” Fire Chief Dr. Hezedean Smith said.