Drone Aids Puppy Rescue near Powerhouse Rapid

Battalion Captain Mike Calhoun helped rescue the stranded pup.

GOLD HILL, Ore. -- The owners of a young black Bullmastiff had to get on all fours to see its rescue from a rocky beach near the Rogue River Wednesday night. Jackson County Fire District No. 3 rescue crews used a device they haven't used before.

"This is the first time we've deployed our drone on an incident. It proved to be very valuable." Battalion Chief, Mike Calhoun said.

The camera-armed drone hovered over the Powerhouse rapid giving firefighters a new vantage point. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle showed first responders in real-time the location of the four-legged victim and the rescuers rappelling down the rugged terrain. The 50-pound puppy fell about 40 feet, according to Calhoun. He said it was slightly injured.

With dusk approaching and marine deputies off-duty, Fire District 3 crews say it was the perfect situation to try the technology.

Within an hour, the dog was reunited with its owner.

"When you're out here walking around the Powerhouse Water Park, this bank on the left side of the river, it is undercut, it is loose rock, and it does have a tendency to break away, which is what happened." Calhoun said.

Firefighters say a human first response is best, but now they have a better vision of how technology can be used for tactical rescues.

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