Lifestyle & Human Interest

Heroic Photographer Uses Drone To Save Missing 6-Year-Old's Life


A missing boy from Minnesota was found alive early Wednesday morning after a photographer cleverly used his drone to take aerial shots to find the little boy.

A community-wide search ensued after 6-year-old Ethan Haus in Palmer Township, Minnesota, went missing shortly after getting home from school Tuesday afternoon, gathering over 600 people to help find him.

Ethan went missing around 4 p.m. after he “ran off to play with the family dog,” Remington.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office posted about the missing boy two hours after he was last seen.

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The community was so eager to help investigators search that the sheriff’s department had to ask others to stay away.

“We have more than 300 volunteers who have arrived to help,” the department wrote on Tuesday at 8 p.m. “We’re asking others to stay away from the area because it’s causing traffic problems that are taking away from our time that could be spent looking for Ethan. Thank You for your interest in helping!!”

Thankfully local photographer Steve Fines was among the group of people who showed up to help.

“I knew that I could be helpful, so I just had to go,” he told Inside Edition.

Fines brought his personal drone equipped with thermal imaging to help search for the missing boy in areas less accessible to volunteers.

“Out north of Becker, Mn with hundreds of folks looking for a missing 6 year old boy,” the photographer wrote on Facebook. “Using a drone with a thermal camera lets me cover lots of wet ground that people can’t walk easily.”

Ethan and Remington were finally spotted using Fines’ drone at 1:50 a.m. in the middle of a cornfield, only ten hours after he first went missing. He was only a mile and a half away from his home, according to the sheriff’s department.

“It was an unusual shape, but I saw something that I thought that looked like a dog and in coordination with the deputy who was with me, they sent out a ground crew to see what it was,” Fines told Inside Edition.

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“When I saw them pick up the boy, I smiled and probably let out a holler and everyone was hollering around me.”

Other than being scared and cold, the sheriff’s department said Ethan was okay.

Even though many are calling Fines a hero for using his drone to find the boy, the photographer is redirecting the attention to be focused on everyone involved.

“While I was running the camera that found him and some of the news stories have focused on that, I only knew in which direction to look because volunteers on the ground had found a footprint that pointed me in the right direction,” he wrote on Facebook.

Fines shared a thermal image from Tuesday evening featuring some of the 600-plus volunteers who sacrificed their time and sleep to help bring Ethan home.

“This was taken in complete darkness – the bright spots are all people out in a field getting ready to walk across in a search pattern. There were literally hundreds of people walking across wet muddy ground, in 30 degree temps at 1am because they wanted to help,” he wrote.

Sheriff Joel Brott echoed the photographer’s praise of the community’s efforts to find the missing boy.

“This truly was the epitome of a community caring for its own,” he said in a news release. “To see the outpouring of support in such a short time period to come out and help find this boy and his dog is heartwarming.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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