Australian lifeguards have used a drone to rescue two swimmers caught in strong waves in what officials in the country say was a "first global success" for the new technology.
A beach fan saw the two teenagers fighting on the beachfront of Lennox Head in the state of New South Wales north of Sydney on Thursday and reported them to the lifeguards.
According to the Reuters news agency, the guards quickly deployed their Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver drone, which carries an inflatable float that can be thrown into the water.
In a matter of minutes the lifeguards who received the report, the flotation device fell down and the two boys, 16 and 17 years old, could use it to swim back to the coast, exhausted but otherwise unscathed.
Deputy Prime Minister of New South Wales, John Barilaro, was among the officials who called the rescue "the first in the world," according to Australian media. He said that the use of the drone also allowed rescuers to reach swimmers in distress much faster than they could swim alone.
Reuters says that, according to the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia, the country saw 291 drowning deaths in the 12 months leading up to July 2017.
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