Australian lifeguards on Thursday used a drone to rescue two swimmers off a beach in New South Wales, the first time the technology is being used in this way, Reuters reported.

Lifeguards at Lennox Head, a popular surfers’ beach, were preparing for a training session on how to use the country’s new drone technology to save swimmers, when they noticed two men in trouble, the government said.

Lifeguards then launched a drone, directed it to the swimmers and dropped a “rescue pod”. The pod expanded once it hit the water, the swimmers grabbed on to it and floated to shore.

The rescue took 70 seconds, Reuters said.

“Never before has a drone fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this,” said John Barilaro, the deputy premier of New South Wales said. Barilaro released a video of the rescue on Twitter.

Barilaro said the country invested $3,43,000 (Rs 2.1 crore) to develop the technology in December.