Two teenage swimmers who were sucked out to sea in a rip have been rescued by a drone in a world-first operation.
The boys were spotted in distress in rough seas off Lennox Head in northern New South Wales on Thursday morning.
Relentless sets of large waves made it almost impossible for rescuers to reach them by boat.
Luckily, the Westpac Little Ripper drone was nearby and ready for its first real-life emergency.
Footage shows the remote controlled aircraft fly above the teenagers before dropping an inflatable device which landed almost within arm’s reach.
Soon after, a huge wave crashed over the teens, causing one of them to momentarily lose his grip.
But they were eventually able to use the contraption to make it safely back to shore in the world’s first rescue of its kind.
Little Ripper Group chief operations officer Ben Trollope told The Courier Mail two young girls raised the alarm before lifesavers called in the drone.
‘They made the phone call to Surf Comm who radioed our guys and it was just a co-ordinated effort after that,’ he said.
‘A flotation device was dropped and it inflated within a few seconds, they grabbed it and the waves pushed them in on it.’
The technology has been used to back up Queensland and New South Wales lifeguards since the beginning of summer.