Crews find missing juvenile in Smyrna using thermal technology on a drone

Posted at 4:25 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 21:53:46-05

RUTHERFORD CO., Tenn. (WTVF) — A missing 14-year-old was found Saturday in Rutherford County by a drone with thermal imagery.

Rutherford County Fire Rescue and Stormpoint drone teams searched for the missing juvenile near Wade Herrod Road after getting a call that the boy had left his home in Smyrna and not returned.

Within 13 minutes of arriving on the scene, the drone showed heat signatures on the ground in the woods.

"We saw this individual, it looked like it could be a person," said Jeff Clementi, the drone pilot. "[With] thermal imaging, you can't see a face. All you see is that bright, glowing yellow, and it might be a person. It wasn't until the deputy confirmed when he got there that we have him, we have him, that [I got] chills."

First responders use drones during every search operation in Rutherford County.

In the last month, RCFR has had two successful searches using the drone.

"It's a very very powerful feeling," said Jeff Clementi, the drone pilot. "Because it doesn't happen very often and being that we were able to accomplish it with the tools we had, it felt very good."

The juvenile was evaluated by paramedics.