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Radio-controlled life preserver tested for rescues on Flemish coast
A self-propelled life preserver is being test in Flanders off the coast of Zeebrugge. The Department of Defence and the government of Flanders are testing the radio-controlled device with the idea of using it to assist swimmers who are in trouble in the North Sea.
The life preserver, larger and more rigid than the typical ring buoy found in boats, can reach swimmers faster and more safely than a life guard in a typical rescue boat. The lifeguard can operate the preserver from on land.
“The preserver has a reach of two kilometres,” said Maurits Herbosch of the Cyprus company USafe, which developed the product. “Our goal is to reach someone in trouble within one minute. When the rescue preserver arrives, the swimmer can immediately grab onto it.”
Lifeguards on the Flemish coast have responded positively, seeing the rescue device as being useful in certain cases. “Of course if someone is unconscious, then that requires a human intervention,” said Nicolas Peckstadt, a lifeguard in Knokke-Heist. “But the rescue preserver would make our jobs safer.”
Photo courtesy USafe