DUTCHESS COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Two lost hikers were rescued in Dutchess County thanks to the use of the Sheriff's Office's drone.
The Dutchess County Sheriff's Office Patrol, ATV Unit, and UAS Drone Unit responded to Stissing Mountain Train Head off Hicks Road around 9:11 p.m. on Tuesday.
A man and woman in their 20s got lost on a hiking trail and called 911 once darkness fell.
Resident Marc Chapman lives next to one entrance of the 590-acre wooded area.
"They should've been paying attention to the time and looking at the sky, because once it gets dark and you don't have a flashlight, you can't see the markers in front of you, you're lost now," he said.
Deputies and members of the fire department coordinated on the ground with the Sheriff's Department's UAS Drone operators and located the lost hikers in about 90 minutes.
The Sheriff's Office utilized thermal imaging technology from the air to observe the hikers who were approximately 4,000 feet into the woods from their vehicle.
The fact that deputies could talk with the hikers was a big help, but the phone battery was running low, and so the race was on to find them before losing communication.
They have a fleet of eight drones, each equipped with a bright light, which the hikers were able to see and direct first responders to their location.
"Without that we would've been moving around in the dark yelling or doing our typical grid search to be able to locate these folks," said Capt. Todd Grieb of the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office.
Pine Plains Fire Personnel were then able to escort the hikers to safety.
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