Helicopter Thermal Camera Helps Deputies Find, Rescue Missing Child in Swampland

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Sheriff’s deputies in Florida used thermal imaging cameras on a police helicopter to locate and rescue a missing five-year-old autistic child in the swamplands of Tampa.

Around 5 PM on Monday, February 26, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s Aviation Unit was called in to assist deputies in locating the child who had wandered away from her family’s home in Tampa.

Thanks to thermal imaging technology, deputies on the ground located the girl in under an hour and were able to make safe contact with her on the ground. Fortunately, she was unharmed and was swiftly returned home to her family.

The girl was found walking through a heavily wooded wetland area. When the aviation unit located her, she was headed toward a body of water, which could have spelled disaster for the child.

Sheriff Chad Chronister explains that people with autism are drawn to water, which underpins the importance of finding her before she reached deep water.

He also explains trying search efforts for autistic individuals is complicated by challenges with communication.

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