Second successful search for Clare Civil Defence

Second successful search for Clare Civil Defence


Volunteers from Clare Civil Defence deployed drones with thermal imaging capability to locate two missing persons in separate operations in recent days.

The missing people were both found relatively unharmed after Civil Defence personnel were called in to assist by local Gardaí.

In the most recent incident, at approximately 6.45pm on Monday, Clare Civil Defence received a call from An Garda Síochána in Ennis requesting assistance searching for a missing person.

The man had been out rambling and had become lost and trapped in an area of extremely dense forestry and overgrown vegetation.

An initial search team, consisting of the unit’s Drone Crew, was dispatched to Ballymaley Busines Park on the outskirts of Ennis town.

On meeting with the members of An Garda Síochána at the scene it was discovered that contact had been made with the individual in question however, the Gardaí were not able to establish his location due to the dense and extremely inhospitable topography of the area.

File Photo

The Civil Defence drone was immediately launched to conduct a search of the area.  As it was dark, the drone pilot engaged the Thermal Imaging Camera (TIC), which allows for the pilot and a spotter to focus on heat sources. Within five minutes of launching the drone, both the pilot and spotter identified a human heat source.

The Clare Civil Defence Search Team Manager had at this stage assembled a Search & Rescue (S&R) Team to also respond to the scene. Aerial views, of the area in which the individual concerned was trapped in, were fed live to a monitor in the Clare CD Communications Unit from the DJI Mavic 2 drone. Using these images, a plan was formulated to safely extract the individual.  Members of the S&R Team proceeded to then make their way towards the individual for extraction, guided in by the drone team.

Although the trapped person was only approximately 30 metres from the S&R Teams operational staging area, it took the team twenty-five minutes of negotiating extremely dense vegetation and forestry to reach the gentleman. As this was happening, other members of the S&R Team engaged the individual in conversation to provide reassurance.

On reaching the gentleman, the extraction team established that he was unhurt.  The S&R Team then freed the gentleman from his trapped position and carefully guided him out to a safe area.  On successfully rescuing the gentleman, he was handed over to Clare Civil Defence medics for a thorough assessment.

The gentleman in question, was thankfully, found to have suffered no injuries.  In consultation with An Garda Síochána it was decided that the Civil Defence would transport the gentleman back to the safety of his own home.

A Civil Defence spokesman said: “From the time that the callout was received by Clare Civil Defence to the time that the gentleman was safely transported home was less than one and a half hours.

This is the second successful rescue carried out by Clare Civil Defence in the space of three days in conjunction with An Garda Síochána. On both occasions, the Drone Team and the Search & Rescue Team worked together in perfect harmony to effect a safe search and rescue.  There is no doubt that without the drone and its Thermal Imaging capabilities, this would have been a very drawn-out operation. The members of Clare Civil Defence and An Garda Síochána are to be commended on their quick response, co-operation and professionalism in bringing this situation to a very successful and happy conclusion.”

Civil Defence volunteers had previously been mobilised to assist Gardaí with a search for a missing person in the Ballyalla area in the early hours of Saturday morning.