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Foyle Search & Rescue Upgrades Drone Programme to Include Thermal Imaging Device

14th April 2021
Foyle Search and Rescue receives £39000 donation for drones
Foyle Search and Rescue receives £39000 donation for drones

Last month Foyle Search and Rescue announced the refresh and upgrade of its drone programme following a £39,000 donation from supporters in the local video games industry. It operates on the River Foyle, which flows through the City of Derry in the North West of Northern Ireland.

Foyle Search and Rescue is a registered, voluntary based search and rescue charity that local people set up in 1993 in response to the alarmingly high number of lives being lost in the area that year. It has adopted the role of preventing suicide and supporting families in the City.

The team's fleet includes six new ultra-lightweight deployable drones and a new flagship heavyweight drone with thermal imaging. The heavyweight Matrice 300 drone named Delta November 1 can be deployed in low-visibility operations and adverse weather conditions. The drone is named in honour of the Foyle Search and Rescue drone team's co-founder, Danny Nelis, who passed away in 2019.

Foyle Search and Rescue on the riverFoyle Search and Rescue on the river

The total donation comprises equal contributions from local video game developer Hypixel Studios, parent company Riot Games Social Impact fund, the owners of the Hypixel Minecraft server, Hypixel Studios CEO Aaron Donaghey, and an anonymous donor.

The drone is named in honour of the Foyle Search and Rescue drone team's co-founder, Danny Nelis, who passed away in 2019.The drone is named in honour of the Foyle Search and Rescue drone team's co-founder, Danny Nelis, who passed away in 2019

Sean McCafferty, Chief Operating Officer of Hypixel Studios, said: "As locals, we're hugely supportive of the important work that Foyle Search and Rescue do and happy for this opportunity to help them expand their capabilities." Jeffrey Burrell, Director of Social Impact at Riot Games, said: "Riot Games is proud to support this important program for Foyle Search and Rescue and know that it will make a meaningful and long-lasting impact for the community.
Pat Carlin, newly appointed Chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue is very appreciative of this donation. "This new fleet of drones will allow us to expand our search and rescue capabilities as the drone team are now able to deploy at night and in heavy rain or wind thanks to weatherproofing and high-end thermal cameras".

And Paul Smith, Foyle Search and Rescue Drone Team Coordinator, said: "As the other co-founder of the drone team and speaking with the blessing of Danny's family, we feel that naming the drone after his call sign is a fitting tribute. Together we set up the project five years ago and the drone program continues as part of his legacy going from strength to strength. Danny will always be remembered at the charity."

Foyle Search and Rescue continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains on call 24/7.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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