Drones to join rescue teams

Twenty Marlborough Search and Rescue (SAR) members will join teams from North Canterbury for a LandSAR exercise this weekend.

Tasman Regional SAR committee chair John King said the weekend training session would be unusual as the teams will use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones as part of the live scenarios.

Drones had been raised as an option by the family of German tourist Christian Prehn who is missing in the Nelson Lakes National Park.

"The SAR members have never used drones at the altitude that would be required for the search in Nelson Lakes. City rules restrict flight to 400 metres, so we need to practice to see if it would be a viable option to use in searches," Mr King said.

A team from Auckland with drone flying experience will be on hand during the training exercise.

The teams would also take part in real-time scenarios. Volunteers would "get lost" on Friday night and other teams would trace and locate them when they start on Saturday, Mr King said.

The teams will be based beside the Clarence River at the Hanmer end of Molesworth Station.

The Marlborough Express