News & Opinion | June 4, 2018 5:00 am

Drones Now Helping First Responders Save People in Hawaiian Lava Path

Watch video of a rescue team use a drone to both locate a stranded citizen and guide the escape.

Lava from a Kilauea volcano fissure advances up a residential street in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii's Big Island, on May 27, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Lava also flowed to a geothermal power plant today raising fears that toxic gas could be released if wells are breached by lava. The Big Island, one of eight main islands that make up Hawaii state, is struggling with tourist bookings following the Kilauea volcano eruptions, with summer bookings at the island down 50 percent. Officials stress that the eruptions have thus far only affected a small portion of the island.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Lava from a Kilauea volcano fissure advances up a residential street in Leilani Estates, on Hawaii's Big Island, on May 27, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. Lava also flowed to a geothermal power plant today raising fears that toxic gas could be released if wells are breached by lava. The Big Island, one of eight main islands that make up Hawaii state, is struggling with tourist bookings following the Kilauea volcano eruptions, with summer bookings at the island down 50 percent. Officials stress that the eruptions have thus far only affected a small portion of the island. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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As dangerous lava flows from Kilauea continue to spread on Hawaii’s Big Island, drones are proving an invaluable tool in leading residents out of harm’s way, according to Digital Trends.

The U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday tweeted out the drone footage that helped emergency responders find a path to a home where a resident was trapped and in imminent danger of getting caught in the lava flow, as well as an escape route out.

As the USGS described the footage in the tweet, the drone “helps guide evacuations and leads to the successful rescue of a resident after a lava pond outbreak sends a fast pahoehoe flow down Luana Street.” Drones are doing their job, allowing researchers to watch lava flows up-close without endangering the lives of emergency responders.