*Click here for footage from the drone’s thermal imaging camera that assisted in locating the stranded canoers. Canoers come into frame at :53 seconds.
BRIDGEWATER — Police Chief Christopher Delmonte and Fire Chief Thomas Levy report that the Bridgewater Police and Fire Departments responded to two canoers in distress on the Town River on Saturday night and were able to bring them to safety with the assistance of drone thermal imaging.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., the Bridgewater Police Department received a report from the West Bridgewater Police Department that a concerned father had called to report that his son and friend, both age 22, were on Town River and that their canoe had become damaged and was taking on water.
Bridgewater Police and Bridgewater Fire units responded to the Lake Nippenicket boat ramp in Bridgewater where the Bridgewater Fire Department deployed their rescue air boat. Officer Chris Rondeau along with Lieutenant Glen Grafton of the Bridgewater Fire Department and Firefighter George Hogg navigated to the northern most point of the lake at the entrance of the Town River. First responders were able to make verbal contact with the stranded canoers but could not immediately identify their exact location.
Officer Chris Rondeau deployed the Bridgewater Police Department Drone from the deck of the air boat and after a brief search of the area, was able to confirm the stranded canoers location using the drone’s thermal imaging camera. The stranded canoers were located about 200 feet away.
Both canoers were guided out of the chest deep water and assisted into the air boat and brought to shore. Both canoers were evaluated and cleared by Bridgewater Fire Department medics and reunited with family waiting on shore.
“Deploying the drone from the deck of the fire boat and using thermal imaging gave responders the visibility they needed to locate the individuals,” said Chief Christopher Delmonte. “Fortunately weather conditions were favorable, the individuals were not injured and coordination with the fire department was well executed.”
“This rescue effort is a great example of the Bridgewater Police and Fire Departments working together,” said Chief Thomas Levy. “I commend the quick action of the individuals involved with this water rescue.”