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Grant helps Superior Search and Rescue expand drone program

January 18, 2022 | By Superior Search and Rescue

Today Superior Search & Rescue (SSAR) announced a brand new drone has been purchased to assist with missing persons and other major incidents in the Copper Country. The drone was purchased using a $30,000 grant from Portage Health Foundation, a $5,000 grant from Portage Health Auxiliary and Gift Shop and donations from Giving Tuesday 2021.

M300 RTK Drone by Portage Lake Lift BridgeSSAR has had a drone program since 2019, when the Portage Health Auxiliary funded the purchase of the original drone. It helped in many incidents and events in the region since then. The unit featured a thermal camera and various attachments like a spotlight to assist in searching for missing individuals.

The new unit boasts new features and the ability to attach multiple attachments at one time. One of the major features is its flight time being up to 55 minutes, doubling the prior unit. It also features a newer and more advanced thermal camera that provides a near perfect picture going toe-to-toe with that of a helicopter, according to SSAR. New capabilities for the team also include the ability to digitally reconstruct a crash incident and the ability to pinpoint a target and relay that location to first responders on the ground.

“Being able to use what we have learned over the past several years we will be able to assist more incidents and events better with this new unit,” SSAR President Darian Reed said. “We’re excited to expand and improve our search and rescue capabilities thanks to this new tool.” Superior Search & Rescue has the only drone program in the Copper Country that is available for use across any incident and event.

Superior Search & Rescue would like to thank the following agencies and organizations for helping lift this program off the ground. The Portage Health Foundation, Portage Health Auxiliary and Gift Shop, Houghton County Sheriff’s Office, Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ontonagon County 911 and Emergency Coordinator. And a big thank you to all our supporters who gave during Giving Tuesday.

If your public safety agency is interested in learning how you can use this resource or if you are interested in joining or supporting Superior Search & Rescue visit

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