Foyle Search and Rescue overhauled its drone programme this year, with the addition of six new drones.
The Derry-based charity was formed in 1993 by local people in response to an alarmingly high number of lives being lost in the area that year.
The suicide prevention charity works with a number of local agencies to help preserve life in the North West.
New additions to the team’s fleet include ultra-lightweight deployable drones and a new flagship heavyweight drone with thermal imaging.
The heavyweight Matrice 300 drone, which is named Delta November 1, can be deployed in low-visibility operations and during adverse weather conditions.
The drone is named in honour of the co-founder of the Foyle Search and Rescue drone team, Danny Nelis, who passed away in 2019.
The drones upgrade followed a £39,000 donation from supporters in the local video games industry.
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.
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.” Additionally, CEO Aaron ‘Noxy’ Donaghey has joined the FSR drone team on an ongoing basis as an auxiliary volunteer.
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.
“We encourage anyone, anywhere to reach out to a professional or to seek help and resources if they continually feel down and that something is just not right.”
Pat Carlin, newly appointed Chairman of Foyle Search and Rescue, said: “We’re 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 time and in heavy rain or wind thanks to weatherproofing and high end thermal cameras.”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 on 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, 365 days of the year by a dedicated team of selfless volunteers from across the community.Tags: