Unprecedented Plan to Use Drones to Rescue Starving Dogs Trapped by Lava in La Palma

Drone operator will try to rescue dogs from La Palma volcano (Video)

For almost a month, the volcano has been spewing lava, causing many to evacuate, with more than a thousand buildings destroyed and 6,000 residents forced to leave the island of La Palma, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, with some leaving behind their pets. Drones have been dropping packages of food to pets trapped by lava. The emaciated dogs are stranded in two empty water tanks in the town of Todoque, flanked by slow-moving lava flows from the Cumbre Vieja volcano that erupted on 19 September .

Helicopters are banned from flying to the area because of hot gas that can damage their rotors. After evaluating the proposed rescue mission, emergency authorities said in a statement they had decided to allow the dogs rescue. A Spanish drone operator received permission to try to rescue three emaciated dogs trapped near the volcano, by catching them with a remote-controlled net and flying them out over a stream of lava. The three dogs have been stranded for weeks in an abandoned yard covered with volcanic ash. The operator will have just four minutes to lure a dog to the net, and another four minutes to fly it out.

The dogs were extremely skinny

Jaime Pereira, CEO of drone operator Aerocamaras, said he plans to send a 50-kilogram (110-pound) drone equipped with a wide net to try to trap the dogs, one by one, and fly them to safety, 450 meters (1,476 feet) away over flowing lava. “It’s the first time an animal is being rescued with a drone and the first time it has to be captured,” Pereira told Reuters. “If that’s the last option that the dogs have? Then we’re going after them. What we don’t want is to run out of battery when flying over the lava,” Pereira said. Watch the video, drones drop food to dogs unable to escape lava.

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