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DJI M210 with thermal camera finds missing 6-year-old boy in dark cornfield

A DJI M210 with a thermal camera helped find a missing 6-year-old boy in dark cornfield near Becker, Minnesota. The boy, named Ethan, was found safe early Wednesday morning after more than 600 volunteers had participated in the search. It was, however, a volunteer with the DJI Matrice 210 with a thermal camera who spotted the missing boy.

Missing 6-year-old boy found with help of DJI M210

According to the StarTribune, the drone pilot with the DJI M210 with a thermal camera found Ethan in a cornfield that had already been searched.

“If not for that drone, I’m not sure we would have found him,” Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott said.

Ethan had been missing since 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday when he got off the school bus near Highway 25 in Becker. He ran off to play with the family dog and somehow got lost in the cornfield. With the help of the drone, Ethan was found at around 1:50 a.m. early Wednesday morning, about 1.5 miles from his home. Police officials reported that he was cold but otherwise ok. Ethan was checked at the local hospital. Temperatures had dropped to the low 40s overnight on Tuesday.

WCCO-TV reports that the drone pilot, Steve Fines, said that he’d never used a drone in a search operation before.

“It was a moment that was going to make his parents so happy, and vicariously we all felt that,” Fines said.

DJI Spokesperson Adam Lisberg tweeted:

This is why we make drones. A 6-year-old boy, lost in a cornfield in the middle of a cold night, was rescued by a volunteer drone pilot using his @DJIGlobal M210 with a thermal camera. He’s at least the 292nd person around the world rescued by a drone.

This is the latest story in which drones are used for good. If your local police force or fire department doesn’t have a drone program yet, I would encourage you to ask them why. Drones are cheap. Potentially saving a 6-year-old boy’s life and reuniting him with his family is priceless.


What do you think about using drones to find missing persons? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo: Star Tribune and WCCO



Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo