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Lakeshore rescue crews check out lifesaving drone demonstration

The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, or EMILY, is able to deliver a lifejacket and helmet to drowning victim in quick time.

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — Rescue crews from all over the lakeshore came to South Haven on Friday to see a demonstration of a life saving device: The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, or EMILY.

"My goal is to get these things in every single area where there's been drowning or could be drowning," says Jeffery Loman, who showed off the drone.

That's why Jeffery Loman, a retired Navy diver, travels the Great Lakes demonstrating the EMILY drone to anyone who will listen. The drone is able to carry a life jacket to a drowning victim, or even act as a floatation device itself.

"The one time in my life where I had to rescue a person in the water in distress, I struggled with that," says Loman. "I wouldn't have struggled if that person would have had buoyancy provided to them."

Scott Gamby, Park Township's fire chief, attended the demonstration. He was impressed by how quickly the drone could be deployed.

"Since the Coast Guard station closed in Holland, now we're waiting for Grand Haven to come down," he says. "And that's a long wait."

A quickness that could save lives.

"I think it has some really good possibilities," says Gamby. "I think it adds another level to water rescue."

The EMILY costs anywhere between $14,000 and $25,000, an investment Gamby hopes the township will discuss.

"We'll do some more studying and then take a look at it and figuring out costs, and then see how that kind of lines up with everything," says Gamby.

And one Loman would stake his life on.

"I'm hoping nobody drowns here," says Loman. "I'm hoping that if it's here, no one will drown. And of course, yeah, I think it will. I'd bet on it."

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