Video Editor: Ashutosh Bharadwaj
Video Producer: Priyale Chandra
Located on the hilltop at a distance of 35 km from Madikeri town in Kodagu district, villages in Karnataka’s Mukkodlu area, were cut off because of the heavy rains that lashed the region.
The Indian Army was called in to trek through this forested area, across several rivers, crossing their way, to reach those stranded in the villages.
On Saturday and Sunday, 18 and 19 August, the Army and other rescue workers rescued over 200 stranded villagers. But on Monday morning, rescue workers were told people were still trapped on the hilltop.
With the Army deployed in a different location, rescue workers were finding it difficult to access routes through the forest.
A group of aeronautical engineers from Bengaluru came to the villagers’ rescue on 20 August. They brought along with them two drones to survey the area and find routes to reach the survivors.
Vinayak, Mallikarjun and Sudeep, three aerospace engineers said they were informed about the requirement for aerial surveillance by one of the residents.
"When we spoke to the rescue workers we learnt that 80 to 90 percent of the rescue in the area was over. But there were some areas that rescue workers were not able to penetrate because they didn’t know which route to take. We fixed a wing drone with a wide-angle camera to survey the area, and we have kept a quadcopter ready to launch once we are able to identity places of interest." - Sandeep, Aeronautical Engineer
According to Mallikarjun, this was a good opportunity for them to showcase how drones can be useful during a natural disaster. “In this scenario, instead of people risking their lives to see if there are any survivor, we can use drones to see the same locations,” he said.
The trio hope that their efforts will help make the government to form a policy which makes drones more accessible to people.
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