Australian man almost drowns while trying to save his drone

Sep 6, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Australian man almost drowns while trying to save his drone

Sep 6, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Victoria Police have reported that a 22 year old Australian man has been pulled from the water at St Kilda Pier. Why was he in the water? Well, he was attempting to rescue his drone. He’d been flying the drone with a friend to shoot photos as part of a project when it suddenly fell into the water.

Attempts to recover the drone from the pier were futile. So he stripped down to his underwear, and jumped in. The average sea temperature right now is around 14°C, so needless to say, his efforts didn’t quite go as planned. The drone rescue quickly turned into his own rescue as the cold water took its toll, causing cramps.

Bizarrely, given that this was happening at 2:45am, they were spotted by a passer-by. This good Samaritan helped the drone owner’s friend tie clothes together to form a makeshift rope. It was enough for the man in the water to hold onto, but not enough to be able to pull him out of the water. It is believed he clung on for about 30 minutes before police arrived.

The unnamed man is now recovering in hospital, suffering from the prolonged cold. Sadly, the drone was unable to be saved. It now resides at the bottom of the bay.

So, folks, always be careful with your drones. Make sure your return to home and fail-safes work. Also, charge your batteries fully. You really don’t want it randomly coming in to land over water. And, really, don’t take risks with your life. Even if your drone was expensive, it’s not worth losing your life. I fly around a lot of rivers and lakes, and there’s very few I’d dare venture into if my drone decided to go diving.

Have you had a drone fail or crash on you? What’s the riskiest situation you’ve put yourself in to rescue a drone or other photography equipment? Ever lost it completely? Let us know in the comments.

[via Digitalrev]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “Australian man almost drowns while trying to save his drone”

  1. David Harpe Avatar
    David Harpe

    A few years ago I lost an entire DJI rig while flying over a river. It was not battery or anything that could be saved by return-to-home or failsafes. Drone was in a perfect hover with plenty of battery and just plunged nose-first into the water. Most likely cause was an ESC failure based on how it went (one side dropped and the control system just couldn’t keep it level). Drone hardware isn’t mil-spec. Failures will happen and if it is a failure involving a motor/rotor system it will probably end badly.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Yeah, random failures is one of the reasons I’m going Hexacopter instead of Quad. Still not 100% foolproof, but at least if one ESC, motor or prop fails, it should fly just fine with five until I can get it safely on the ground.

      1. David Harpe Avatar
        David Harpe

        A hex is definitely better than a quad, but it really comes down to loading and how good your controller board is as to whether a hex can recover. Whenever you lose a motor the remaining motors have to make up the difference, particularly the two adjacent to the dead one. If you’re at the top end of the curve due to weight you might not have enough to keep it from tumbling. Also assumes the failure is “quiet” and not more of a malfunction.