Drone Appeal Launched by Charity
A local rescue service has launched an appeal to buy drones, to improve its ability to search for missing people.
Hampshire Search and Rescue (HANTSAR) is a voluntary organisation which works alongside the police and other emergency services. Teams of volunteers are called out to assist searches across the county when required.
The chairman of HANTSAR, Tony Privett, told members of Four Marks and Medstead Rotary that the service was one of a number of lowland rescue services operating across England. He said “We search for those people who have been reported missing and are identified by the police as ‘high risk’, and we operate anywhere from high water on the South coast to the hilltops of Hampshire.”
HANTSAR is a charity which has been in operation for fifteen years, and now has a hundred volunteers, the majority of whom have been trained to operate on the front line of searches in teams of three or more.
Tony Privett explained that a person who had gone missing could be anywhere within a 28 square mile area within an hour. Within another two hours, that individual could be anywhere in a 250 square mile area, which presented a huge search challenge.
One of HANTSAR’s team of volunteers, Kevin Malam, is now working on a plan to enhance the service by using drones to search from the air areas that are difficult to access on foot. HANTSAR hopes to acquire three drones, and Kevin, who is a member of Four Marks and Medstead Rotary, hopes the charity can raise £5,000 to make this possible.
He said, “Having drones available to our volunteer search teams would make it possible to search wider areas more quickly and to reach places that we just cannot get to on foot.”
HANTSAR teams are called out about sixty times a year to search for some of the 50,000 people who are reported missing in Hampshire each year.