Man with drone continues search for missing woman Hazel Nairn

Man with drone continues search for missing woman Hazel Nairn

A North East businessman has joined the search for missing grandmother Hazel Nairn – with his drone.

Ms Nairn was swept away by the River Don when she and her dog tried to get home in bad weather on Friday, November 18.

The 71-year-old’s beloved Westie, Ruaridh, was found dead a week later.

A major search was launched by the emergency services, but no trace of the mother-of-two was found.

Daughter Anneka Gray became concerned that the search was losing focus.

‘It will be an open wound until Hazel is found’

However, drone operator Cameron Anderson assisted the family – searching the area with his drone this weekend and last.

Mr Anderson, from Turiff, said: “It’s important to give the family hope.

“I’ve been out almost every day for two weeks.

“It will be an open wound until Hazel is found.”

Mr. Anderson’s drone has a high quality camera attached to it. Image: Cameron Anderson.

The 43-year-old has a state-of-the-art drone that can capture video in extremely high quality.

He said it could cover the same amount of ground in 10 minutes as a person walking on foot would cover in about a day.

River Don debris makes searching challenging

The businessman has been flying drones since 2019 when he took it up as a hobby.

But the search has been challenged by the River Don, which burst its banks last month and covered the area in debris.

Drone footage of flooding at Kintore, along the River Don last month. Image: Kenny Elrick/ DC Thomson.

He said: “It’s a bit of a mammoth task because the river has picked up straw bales and wood and spread them in the farmer’s fields.

“All along the river, about a quarter of a mile on either side has a lot of debris.

“I went through with difficulty and flew the drone around and searched.”

Search along the river Don continues

Mr. Anderson wears virtual reality goggles while flying the drone so he can see clearly from the drone’s camera.

His company’s graduate apprentice Findlay Lawson (18) also helped by watching the drone from the ground.

They spoke to Hazel’s daughter, who told them exactly where the accident happened.

Findlay Lawson wears the virtual reality headset to see out of the drone’s camera while Cameron Anderson controls it. Image: Cameron Anderson.

However, after searching downstream towards Kintore, the pair now return to where they started at Monymusk.

Mr Anderson said: “The snow didn’t help, and because the river has a lot of bends in it, it’s difficult.

“I’m sure we’ll find her.”

Hazel’s family remains hopeful

Despite the challenges, Mrs. Nairn’s family, hopeful that the search will be successful, have been out every day themselves.

Hazel’s daughter Anneka said: “The debris was more than 4ft high at some points but there is a small chance my mum could be under there so it is vital to keep searching.

“This awful weather has halted the police search, but the search will continue next week.

Thousands of pieces of rubbish now lie around the river banks. Image: Cameron Anderson.

“We are grateful to Cameron, who was out on days when the police couldn’t free up resources, he was still out with the drone.

“He is a very nice man.”

The day after her dog was found, her granddaughter called a double rainbow in the sky a “Rainbow Pile for Nana.”

Local farmers support search

The community also tried to support the searches.

Mr Anderson said during his searches he asked farmers for permission to fly into their fields.

He said: “Everyone I have spoken to has been wonderful and very helpful.

“They encouraged me and helped me when they could.

These images were captured by the drone’s camera while searching the area on December 10. Image: Cameron Anderson.

“It’s amazing to see how the community comes together like this.”

Police say their search continues.

Officers were spotted searching the river in kayaks and the police helicopter traveled through the area.

Hikers in the area are urged to keep an eye out as well, as long as it is safe to do so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *