Park provides vital platform for research

A special research project to design, observe and measure the performance of air and ground assets in search and rescue operations has taken place in the National Park.

Saturday, 23rd September 2017, 08:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th September 2017, 16:24 pm
Brian Allport and Stuart King, from Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, with Adam Turner, observer and senior coastal operations officer at HM Coastguard.

The project was carried out by the Centre for Search Research with Northumberland National Park Authority and Newcastle University at a designated site near Rothbury.

The study, titled Exercise Northumberland, saw ground and air assets working together to find randomly distributed targets over a 2km search area. Air assets, including fixed and rotary wing aircrafts and drones, took part, while trained searchers from the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and their air-scenting dog searched on foot.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the use of drones in search and rescue operations, which specialists were keen to explore.

Peter Roberts, co-founder of the Centre for Search Research, said: “The research is ground-breaking in terms of its scope and originality.”

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Tony Gates, chief executive at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have been involved with this very important project which will ultimately help to keep people safe in the National Park. We hope that the results from this work will help in all search and rescue operations nationally and internationally.”

In December, an international workshop will take place, organised in conjunction with Newcastle University Business School. It is hoped a working group will be formed to coordinate research into the use of this technology.