Drone spots school of sharks at popular holiday spot

 

Surf life saver drones are proving their worth for shark safety with the "eyes in the sky" spotting a big school of sharks near swimmers and surfers off a popular NSW north coast beach.

The large school of whaler sharks was spotted at Evans Head, causing the beach to be closed for most of the day.

A Surf Life Saving UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicle) operator conducting aerial surveillance for the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spotted the group of about 40 sharks just offshore at the popular holiday spot.

Drone footage shows a school of sharks at Evans Head. Picture: Surf Life Saving NSW
Drone footage shows a school of sharks at Evans Head. Picture: Surf Life Saving NSW

Northern NSW Lifeguard Co-ordinator Scott McCartney said around 100 swimmers and surfers were evacuated from Evans Head Main Beach about 11.30am on December 30.

"The UAV operator was doing a flight to the north of the lifeguard's flagged area when he spotted a few sharks," he said.

"After further investigation he found it was actually quite a large group of more than 40 sharks."

An aerial view of the sharks. Picture: Surf Life Saving NSW
An aerial view of the sharks. Picture: Surf Life Saving NSW

Surf Life Saving NSW says the DPI drone program which is in operation at 34 beaches throughout summer is proving to be successful at keeping swimmers and surfers safe.

"We've been able to alert lifesaving patrols or people in the water directly, to the presence of sharks nearby on numerous occasions," said SLSNSW Operations Manager, Public Safety Brent Manieri.

"Feedback from the public is that they appreciate the surveillance we are conducting using UAVs at many locations along the coast. Many people feel that their safety is improved if they know the drones are up in the air and keeping watch," said Manieri.

Originally published as Drone spots school of sharks at popular holiday spot

Two of the sharks at Evans Head. Picture: Surf Life Saving NSW
Two of the sharks at Evans Head. Picture: Surf Life Saving NSW