Missing Hiker Body Found by Drone Pilot
It was a sad day in Utah when drone technology met humanity one weekend in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Seventeen-year-old teenage boy, James Wade, went missing after he went hiking with his family on Saturday afternoon at the Lisa Falls area.
They had all hiked to the falls together but when they reached it, James decided to hike a little farther. He left only with the clothes on his back; he had no phone, water or food with him.
“He hiked up higher and then never came back,” said Unified Police Lt. Lex Bell.
His family got worried when James still had not returned after 45 minutes. Immediately, they called for help at 1.30 p.m. Search and rescue teams found his body at the bottom of a 400-foot cliff that night. UPD Detective Ken Hansen said, “He probably just slipped and fell. He maybe just got too close [to the edge].”
A drone pilot proved to be a great help in assisting the search and rescue teams locate the body. The drone pilot was Kris Krie, who happened to be on his way up the canyon to spend the night with his friends. He was familiar with the surrounding area as he is accustomed to taking aerial shots of it with his DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter. When he heard about a missing hiker, he offered his help to the police. Since the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter had to leave for a refuel, the deputies accepted Kris’ offer.
“They briefed me on where they suspected he was. Because the family was with him prior to them separating, they knew where he was going.” ~Kris Krie
With information from the searchers, it only took about three minutes to locate James. Krie’s drone, which was able to project real-time feed onto his phone, unfortunately found a body as James did not survive the fall down the steep cliff.
“It is tough,” Krie said. “I feel bad for the family that is now going through the grieving process. That’s not what I’d wish upon anybody.”