A Spanish drone pilot has been given the green light to use a drone to try and rescue three stranded dogs from an abandoned yard trapped by volcanic lava on the island of La Palma.
Jaime Pereira outlined his plan to catch the dogs with a remote-controlled wide net which will then fly them over streams of lava one by one. The concept sounds simple enough but there are certain obstacles that need to be navigated in order to rescue the dogs that have been stranded for weeks as the lava continues to pour from the heart of the island without showing any signs of stopping, according to Sky News.
The first challenge is the narrow time frame Pereira and his team face. Because of limited battery life, the controller will have just four minutes to lure each dog to the net then four minutes to then fly them to safety.
"What we don't want is to run out of battery when flying over the lava," Pereira said.
The second challenge is actually capturing the dogs. While drones have been bringing them food, the dogs have not been eating enough. For this reason, Pereira hopes to easily lure them into the net but they could also respond negatively to the drone.
"They've been eating very little for weeks," he said. "They might come, or become scared of the drone. We really depend on their reaction."
Helicopters are not an option as the hot volcanic gasses could damage their rotors. The drone is the only option right now and Pereira, who runs a drone operations company called Aerocamaras, is prepared to do what it takes to rescue the dogs.
"It's the first time an animal is being rescued with a drone and the first time it has to be captured," he told Reuters. "If that's the last option that the dogs have? Then we're going after them."
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