MYAKKA CITY, Fla. (FOX 13) - With its 13 miles of trails, some part of the Edward W. Chance Reserve are wide open. Other parts are more like a thick forest.
Experienced horseback rider JeJe Hannah and her 12-year-old daughter were lost in the middle of it.
"They got turned around. They couldn't find their way out," said Lt.Cary Chapman.
Lt. Cary Chapman with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said the pair took a cell phone to guide them along their ride, but the GPS went out and all the trails began to look the same.
Four hours later they called Manatee County deputies for help.
"We were coming towards dark, from what I understand, and it was really time-sensitive. We wanted to find them and get them out,” said Lt.Chapman.
Their cell signal pointed deputies in a general direction.
One of the deputies came equipped with a drone.
Once he put it in the air they found the pair in less than an hour.
"The technology and the quality of the video that is available to us is incredible," he said.
It's the first time Manatee deputies have used their drone and utilized the Unmanned Aircraft Systems team for a search and rescue.
It won't be the last.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has five drones and they’ve licensed 16 deputies as pilots and they’re ready to fly whenever they’re needed.
"There’s no replacement for the helicopter, but us being able to launch a drone and fly a mission is definitely cheaper than flying an hour of the aviation flying...The deputies they can just launch it right from their car and they are right there so quick," said Lt. Chapman.
JeJe tells FOX 13: "We're very thankful for everything that they did to help bring us to safety. They truly did an amazing job of being able to find us."