Drone used to find missing runaway teen

Local News
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EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — First responders used the latest technology to help find a missing runaway juvenile.

The teenager was reported missing about 2:45 pm, Sunday. About an hour later, the juvenile was seen running into a cornfield. A K-9 unit was directed to track the teenager.

A drone was also deployed to help pinpoint the juvenile’s exact location. Authorities say the time of day and high temperatures made the health of the teen and first responders a top priority.

The city bought the drone in May. It was deployed by Effingham Fire Department personnel.

The teenager was found by authorities and taken to the hospital for observation as a precaution about 5:30 pm.  

Chief Jeffrey Fuesting credits the new drone technology for saving time and lessening the risk of weather-related injuries to both the juvenile as well as first responders.

“This was the first time we were able to utilize this type of technology. Given the excessive heat of the day, Officers made the right call to use the drone immediately, rather than risk Officers walking through the dense corn field where temperatures could easily top 120 degrees. We are very thankful for the generous donations by community members to purchase this tool for Public Safety use in Effingham,” stated Chief Fuesting. “Technology is rapidly advancing, and enhancing the tools and techniques we use as a Police Department allows us to serve the citizens more effectively.” 

Currently, one member from the police and fire departments completed the 32-hour course and testing process. Chief Fuesting plans to have more first responders complete certification in the upcoming year.

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