A couple of good Samaritans stepped up big time in a search for a missing autistic child this past week in South Carolina aided by the help of thermal optics. After nearly seven hours of searching, 6-year-old Jonathan Mallard was spotted and brought to safety by Robert Sloan and Jimmy Peak Jr with the help of an ATN OTS LT.

The challenge of the search and rescue operation, as reported by local media, was that the child didn’t respond well to adults, so the fear was even if found, he would run from those looking to bring him to safety. Luckily the two men knew the woods well and Peak Jr had his OTS device with him allowing him to see the body heat of the small child in the dark environment.

The youth was recovered around 10 p.m. and Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan credits the men and the technology with being able to find the child, saying that they don’t think the boy would’ve been found as quickly without the men and that device.

“I wanted to find that little boy. My father-in-law knew the woods because he used to hunt there and if it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t have found him,” said Sloan. “My father-in-law has a thing that’s like a thermal vision and you can see outlines of colors and body heat and stuff like that, and he saw the little kid come out from behind the tree. Whenever I got there, he came straight to me.”

ATN confirmed to Guns.com that the device was the OTS LT, saying that these devices are becoming increasingly popular not only for hunting and tactical operations but for search and rescue missions such as these.

“Thermal is great for search and rescue,” Steve Lemenov, ATN's Director of Marketing, told Guns.com, “there are so many more applications outside of hunting and shooting. It’s very exciting to see that our products helped in saving someone’s life.”

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