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Migrant crisis Drone detects illegal border crossings

A night on patrol on the southern Swiss border. To aid surveillance efforts, the Swiss border guards deploy a military drone to help identify suspicious movements on the border.  (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

The drone, on loan from the Swiss Air Force, is deployed up to 80 times a year to detect illegal movements on the border between Switzerland’s canton of Ticino and Italy.

In the first seven months of 2016, Switzerland turned back more than 8,000 migrants to Italy from Ticino. In July alone, the figure was 3,560.  

The machine, equipped with an infrared camera, flies at an altitude of  2,000-3,000 m and is able to be in the air for up to four hours. An hour in the air costs CHF7,300 ($7,300). Flights can be carried out in good weather conditions only. 

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