New drone technology could help search for missing woman

New drone technology could help search for missing woman

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 19 at 3:02 PM

BOISE -- The search for a Boise woman, missing for more than three weeks is turning to technology.

Since September 24th, Crews have been walking over miles of lava fields at Craters of the Moon National Monument, trying to locate Dr. Jo Blakeslee.

Now, they're hoping to use a new tactic, and they may need the public's help.

Blakeslee went hiking with friend Amelia Linkert in September. Linkert's body was found in the park shortly after they went missing. Authorities say she died from exposure.

But crews still can't find Blakeslee, and are hoping to get help from a drone-like device.

Craters of the Moon Superintendent Dan Buckley told KTVB he hasn't heard of a similar search using this technology, meaning this would be the first technological search of its kind.

"As far as locating persons, I don't know that a UAS has been used for this purpose yet," said Buckley.

Buckley said they are hoping to use a UAS, an unmanned aerial system. Right now, he is checking with agencies like the Department of Interior and the National Guard to get the device.

Then, they would have pilots on the ground, directing the aircraft, hoping to get clues from above on Blakeslee's whereabouts.

"We're hoping that by getting an aerial platform we will be able to cover more ground quickly, and we will able to spot something from the air, at least a clue," said Buckley.

Recently, the civil air patrol took photographs, but they were too far from the ground to help in the search.

Buckley believes the photos taken by a UAS will have better resolution, and then the public could view them in order to help look for evidence.

He said they've already searched for more than 6,000 hours, covering more than 10,000 miles. And that they're having to travel deeper into the park, to more remote areas, and are worried about search crews getting hurt.

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