Drone operator helps locate fallen hiker

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**Embargo: Salt Lakte City** Kris Krie used his DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter to help locate the body of the missing boy.

Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT (KSL) — A drone made a big difference in the weekend search for a fallen teenager in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

James Wade, 17, was hiking with his family Saturday when he was separated from the group in the Lisa Falls area.

Kris Krie, who is accustomed to taking scenic shots with his drone from about 2.5 miles away, offered to help. He just happened to be on his way up the canyon to spend the night with friends.

Eventually, after the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter left to refuel, deputies accepted his offer.

“They briefed me on where they suspected he was. Because the family was with him prior to them separating, they knew where he was going,” Krie said.

With those instructions from searchers, he said it took about three minutes to locate the missing teen. Krie’s drone was able to project images real-time onto his phone, which helped searchers better assess the situation before going in themselves.

It quickly became apparent that Wade did not survive his fall down a steep cliff.

“It is tough,” Krie said. “I feel bad for the family that is now going through the grieving process. That’s not what I’d wish upon anybody.”

During a time when we often hear of drones getting in the way, Krie said he’s glad he got to help.

“It is an invaluable tool that gives them so much more visibility,” he said.

By Mike Anderson

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