Technology May Have Expedited Missing Man Search

DELAWARE WATER GAP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - It wasn't the ending anyone had hoped for. After an exhaustive search, crews discovered the body of a missing man. Volunteers say they may have found him sooner if they had updated technology.

Investigators say Kevin Woolf, 32, enjoyed riding his motocross bike along power line trails. Last Tuesday, he told a friend he may be lost in the National Park. That was the last time anyone heard from Woolf.

"It was the longest search we've had in a couple years," says Bruce Barton of Northeast Search and Rescue.

For Bruce Barton of Northeast Search and Rescue, they were four intense days. Dozens of volunteers spent thousands of hours scouring rough, rocky terrain for Woolf.

Barton adds, "it's hard, it's hard on everybody. The family, the searchers."

Taking the lead from search dogs, crews made a grim discovery. Woolf was finally found 900 feet below a cliff.

"He either maybe tried to climb down to get to the highway or fell off," Barton suspects.

Northeast Search and Rescue canvassed the heavily wooded area from up above using its donated drone.
But if the non-profit had a thermal camera attached to it, volunteers may have found Woolf sooner and saved important resources.

"We haven't been able to raise the $4,200 dollars," Barton says.

Thermal cameras detect body heat. You can attach one to a drone and spot human bodies in all kinds of terrain, including from above tree tops.

"It will stand out. It will show a bright red or white depending on how we set the camera to look," Barton explains.

Thermal cameras are ideal for night searches, too. Volunteers can review footage from a high definition television.

"It's a big tool," Barton adds.

A tool that could help families, like Kevin's, find the answers they need.

"Can it help us save a life in the future? Absolutely. I mean, its doing it all across the world.," Barton explains.

Northeast Search and Resue helps with more than fifty searches each year.

TO HELP THE ORGANIZATION PURCHASE A THERMAL CAMERA: http://http://www.nesar.org/index.php/donations/

The Northampton County Coroner says Woolf's cause and manner of death are pending further tests and studies.


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