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An unlikely dynamic duo is changing the game for Swiss rescue operations needing to move quickly after natural disasters.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

Dogs...

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.


...and drones.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

The Swiss Federation of Civil Drones has partnered with the Swiss Association for Search and Rescue Dogs (REDOG) to complete a handful of missions — including one this week.

On Aug. 23, 2017, journalists at a press event were being shown how the dogs and drones work together during a rescue exercise on a grassy plain outside Zurich, when, incredibly, an actual landslide occurred in the Swiss Alps near the Italian border.

Drones and dogs were among the resources deployed to the region — a popular area for hikers.

As of this writing, eight people — from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland — were still missing following the landslide that rocked the remote village of Bondo, CNN reported.

The tragic event — which forced an estimated four million cubic meters of mud and rock plummeting down the side of the Piz Cengalo mountain in southeastern Switzerland, the BBC reported — illustrates how vital it is to have resources like trained dogs and drone technology at the organizations' disposal.

Both organizations aim to eventually have drones complement the dogs' work on every rescue event.

“This allows us to have an eye in the air and a nose on the ground,” REDOG president Romaine Kuonen told AFP.

In the wake of natural disasters, drones are particularly helpful at scanning areas unsafe for people (and dogs) to venture, such as the dangerous terrain surrounding cliffs. At the same time, dogs are especially handy at sniffing out those who need rescuing in heavily wooded areas, where operating drones can be difficult.

Allowing dogs and drones to, in a sense, divide and conquer larger areas in the precious hours following a natural disaster — where rescue teams are racing against the clock to save lives, as they did in the wake of the Swiss avalanche — is truly changing the game.

Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

“The main benefit is to gain more time, to be more efficient and to be faster to find the missing person,” Dominique Peter of the Swiss Federation of Civil Drones explained to AFP.

Stay up to speed on the news unfolding in Bondo, and learn more about Swiss efforts to combine dogs and drones to save lives in a video by AFP below:

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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