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Thursday, June 8, 2023, 9:46 p.m

2 lost hikers found in Dutchess County thanks to drone

DUCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. (WABC) — Two lost hikers were rescued in Dutchess County thanks to the use of a sheriff’s drone.

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Patrol, ATV Unit and UAS Unit responded to the Stissing Mountain Train Head from Hicks Road around 9:11 p.m. Tuesday.

A man and woman in their 20s got lost on a hiking trail and called 911 just after dark.

Resident Mark Chapman lives near one of the entrances to the 590-acre wooded area.

“They had to pay attention to the time and look at the sky, because when it gets dark and you don’t have a flashlight, you can’t see the markers in front of you, you get lost,” he said.

Deputies and members of the fire department coordinated on the scene with the Sheriff’s Department’s UAS drone operators and found the lost hikers in about 90 minutes.

The sheriff’s office used aerial thermal imaging technology to monitor the hikers, who were approximately 4,000 feet in the woods from their vehicle.

It helped a lot that the deputies could talk to the hikers, but the phone battery was dying, so it was necessary to find them before they lost contact.

They have a fleet of eight drones, each equipped with a bright light that tourists were able to see and direct responders to their location.

“Without it, we’d be moving around in the dark and yelling or doing a normal web search to find these people,” said Capt. Todd Grieb of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office.

Pine Plains Fire Department personnel were able to escort the hikers to safety.

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