Four rescued in Nepal with new technology which sensed their heartbeats

Heartbeats of four trapped in Nepal lead to rescue Credit: DHS/John Price

Four men, trapped under as much as 10 foot of rubble after the 7.8 magnitude in Nepal, were rescued when NASA technology sensed their heartbeats.

It was the first time NASA FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) equipment was tested in a real life disaster situation.

The technology was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA.

Field hospitals and temporary makeshift shelters set up by international aid organisations. Credit: Reuters

The device uses microwave-radar technology to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Following the quake on 25th April, two prototype FINDER devices were deployed to support search and rescue teams in the stricken areas.

Local residents walk past collapsed houses. Credit: Reuters

The men had been trapped beneath the rubble for days in the hard-hit village of Chautara.

FINDER has previously demonstrated capabilities of detect people buried under up to 30 foot of rubble, hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete, and from a distant of 100 feet in open spaces. A new "locator" feature has since been added to not only provide search and rescue responders with confirmation of a heartbeat, but also the approximate location of trapped individuals within about five feet, depending on the type of rubble.

Earthquake victims stand near the remains of a damaged house. Credit: Reuters