Police drone finds missing Byron hunter wet and unresponsive in - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Police drone finds missing Byron hunter wet and unresponsive in marshy area


A Byron man is recovering in the hospital Monday after a drone found him clinging to life in a field two days earlier.

The 84-year-old man told his wife he was going hunting around 3:45 Saturday afternoon. Three-hours later, the wife called authorities, after her husband hadn't returned. The wife told authorities the missing man had numerous medical complications. 

Deputies began the search in the 7100 block of Valley High Road Northwest. They located a vehicle about 200 to 300 yards off the road, stuck in mud in a field, but no sign of the hunter. Rochester Police launched its drone right away, with weather conditions preventing a helicopter to take to the skies.

Just after 9:30 Saturday night, the drone located the man using infrared technology. Police said he was found in a marshy area in the fetal position, soaking wet, and unresponsive.

"He had fallen down into an area where he was half submerged in swamp mud," said Dave Thompson with the Rochester Police Department.

This was the first time the police department has used the drone's infrared technology to find a missing person. In the past, they've used it to locate criminals on the run.

The 84-year-old man was taken to Mayo Clinic Saint Marys Hospital, where Monday he's listed in good condition. His wife told KTTC she hoped he could return home Monday afternoon.

Authorities said without the drone, the man may not have survived. 

"It's always good to have these. We don't get a lot of these in law enforcement, but it's a great save by new technology that we're still learning about. I know people have privacy concerns, but this is the perfect example of why this technology should be used by law enforcement. It saved a life," said Capt. Scott Behrens with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office.

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