Drones Aid In Search For Missing Family
Last Updated: 1384 days ago
A high-profile search-and-rescue team is joining the hunt for a missing Fallbrook family and bringing some high-tech equipment with them.Over the next several days, a drone will be used to search for the McStay family, who have been missing since Feb. 4.Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and sons Gianni and Joseph Jr. have not been seen or heard from in almost a month. Family members reached out to Texas Equusearch, the same agency that helped in the search for Natalee Holloway and Jesse Davis."Generally, if there's an abduction or if there's a murder most time I do not take them very far they don't want to be traveling with a body in a vehicle," said Tim Miller of Texas Equusearch.Miller said the search would stretch from the family's Fallbrook home to the San Ysidro parking lot where their white Isuzu Trooper SUV was found.Drone pilot Mike Hennig said, "As we fly, digital camera systems on board high-resolution, 9- or 10-megapixel digital cameras on board to do still imagery. We also use streaming video from the aircraft."The radio-controlled drone aircraft are based out of San Diego State University. When they are launched, they can search every inch of a 15-mile area in a matter of minutes. The drones feed high-resolution digital images and GPS locations back to the search team."If we find something of particular interest in an image, all the material that is recorded in the aircraft is GPS logged so we can sit there, find the image, pull the GPS data and be able to direct people on the ground to search specific areas," said Hennig.Texas Equusearch claimed one search with a drone aircraft can take the place of 100 ground searches. In the past three-and-a-half years, seven bodies were found, and two people who were still alive. With science on their side, the group hopes to find the McStay family alive.Anything that's found during the search this weekend will be turned over to San Diego County Sheriff's investigators on Monday.The searchers and drone pilots are all volunteers, and SDSU helps program some of the software used in the search-and-rescue missions.