Police use drone to quickly rescue stranded hikers in Montgomery County

Drone found hikers' heat signatures within 20 minutes

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – Two hikers stranded on a local trail were quickly rescued, thanks to a drone.

The hikers were stranded early Monday morning at Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve and Trail, near the Roanoke, Montgomery and Floyd county lines.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office started operating drones in 2018, using them for search and rescue missions as well as for finding fugitives.

The terrain and lack of cellular service made it difficult to find the hikers' exact location. In past incidents in that area, searchers spent hours hiking.

In this case, the drone found the hikers' heat signatures in about 20 minutes.

The drone was able to send coordinates to searchers on the ground, who found the missing hikers within an hour of when the drone team had been called out.

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