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Drones used to capture video of sharks near shore

Technically Incorrect: In California, lifeguards send up quadcopters to find out whether sharks are lurking near the shore. This comes after two shark incidents in North Carolina.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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The easiest way to know if sharks are in the vicinity. CBS Los Angeles screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Over the weekend, two teens lost limbs to sharks in separate incidents at the same beach in North Carolina.

One happened 90 minutes after the other. The mayor of the coastal town told the Associated Press that authorities didn't have enough time to decide to close the beach between attacks.

Is there a way of having greater knowledge whether sharks are near the shore?

In Seal Beach, Calif., they're doing something very simple: they're sending up drones.

As CBS Los Angeles reports, lifeguards send the drones up and spot shadows in the water. Once they do that, they lower the drone and focus in to see what lurks and in which direction it's going.

Chief Joe Bailey, a Seal Beach lifeguard, told CBS that the sharks they spotted on Monday morning were small and not aggressive. However, he said: "If we get bigger sharks or we get sharks that are aggressive, we're actually going to close the water."

Even so, the lifeguards post whatever images of sharks they have to give people fair warning. To those who have never had a shark encounter, the images might be frightening.

Just knowing the sharks are there and that they might have a change of mood may put some off from going in for a swim.

Experts say the best way of dealing with a shark encounter is not to panic and to remain as still as possible. In real life, I'm sure that isn't so easy to do. It's better to at least be aware of their potential presence.

Drones can be annoying and even dangerous. This is one instance, though, where their use is clearly helpful.