VIDEO: HCSO infrared helicopter helps rescue missing elderly woman from canal

Lillian Morales

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has released a video of a dramatic rescue of a 71-year-old Palm River woman with medical issues.

Deputies say they quickly reacted when Lillian Morales wandered away from her home on Tuesday as stormy weather moved in.

Multiple units, including the HCSO K9 section, converged on Fish Lake Road to search for Morales as her family became increasingly worried about her.

A helicopter was also dispatched to aid in the search and was able to locate Morales using a forward looking infrared camera (FLIR), which is used to sense infrared radiation. The camera detected a glowing human heat source in a canal near Morales’ residence.

Sheriff’s pilot Jeff Gray and tactical flight officer Manny Feller radioed rescuers to the source’s location and Deputies Nick Elliott and Brett Seigler found Morales, sitting in knee-deep in water, cold, confused and covered with insect bites, according to the sheriff’s office.

She was carried to safety and reunited with her family.  No further details regarding her condition have been released at this time.

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