Wisconsin Man Rescues Missing Person Using Quadcopter Camera

In twenty minutes, David Lesh succeeded where police, search dogs, hundreds of volunteers and a helicopter failed.

After Guillermo DeVenecia, 82, went missing in Wisconsin last Wednesday, Lesh used the camera on his remote-controlled quadcopter to get a view of the beanfields from 200 feet above ground and find the missing man. “As we were making the last turn to fly it, we noticed a man out in the field sort of stumbling, looking a little disoriented,” said Lesh, according to Examiner’s Edie Sellers.

Lesh, who typically uses his quadcopter to photograph skiers and snowboarders for his Colorado sports-apparel company, Virtika, did not expect to find the man alive.

The idea for the search came from Lesh’s girlfriend Katie Gorman, who just wanted to give the man’s family peace of mind. After discovering the dehydrated DeVenecia, David Lesh, Katie Gorman and her father carried the man out of the field and drove him to shelter.

“To get a hug from someone’s wife when they’ve been missing, just a tear-filled hug, is a feeling I won’t forget for a long time,” Katie Gorman told reporters.

With more stories like this, the public will realize that “drones” are not something to be outlawed, but a new technology with the potential to improve our lives.


For news tips on aerial photography and drones, contact Andrew Meyer, PINAC’s staff writer covering UAV photography, the First Amendment, and more. Follow him on twitter @theandrewmeyer.