Drone pilot watches in disbelief as person shoots his device out of the sky when it accidentally strayed into a no-fly zone – as police probe ‘criminal damage’ in first UK case of its kind
- Drone inadvertently flown near Walney Aerodrome, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
A drone operator who was filming aerial footage of vintage cars watched in horror as his device was blasted out of the sky with a shotgun, a report has revealed.
The incident happened when the drone was being inadvertently flown illegally in a no fly zone close to an airfield where drones are banned.
It is believed to be one of the first times in the UK that someone has effectively taken the law into their own hands to shoot down a drone.
Police are now investigating the incident as a potential case of criminal damage after the drone crashed to the ground, apparently riddled with shotgun pellets.
Officers say they have so far not arrested or charged anyone in connection with the case.
The operator was flying a DJI Mini 2 drone (stock picture of model above) weighing under 250gms near Walney Aerodrome in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
The no-fly zone near Walney Aerodrome is indicated in the map above. The drone pilot is said not to have realised that he was flying in a drone restricted area
A report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said the incident happened on May 17 this year in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The operator was flying a DJI Mini 2 drone weighing under 250gms, meaning it is subject to less stringent rules than other devices.
But he is said not to have realised that he was flying in a drone restricted area due to the proximity of the Walney Aerodrome airfield just over a mile away.
Drones are normally banned from flying within two miles of the airfield to guard against the risk of collisions with aircraft.
The report said: ‘The remote pilot was operating the 249g UA (unmanned aircraft) at a height of about 30m above a private property to take video of some classic cars located there.
‘He was not aware that he was flying in a Flight Restricted Zone of a nearby airfield because the UA manufacturer’s app did not show it and he had not checked an official source.
‘From the video feed he saw a person at the property taking pictures of his UA and talking on the phone.
Drones are normally banned from flying within two miles of Walney airfield (pictured) to guard against the risk of collisions with aircraft
‘The person then walked away but came back with a shotgun and shot at the UA causing it to fall to the ground. The event was the subject of a police investigation.’
The incident sparked debate on the Facebook group for Commercial Drone Pilots (UK) with one user commenting: ‘The mind boggles, you can’t fly a <250g drone in the airspace, but can fire a shotgun randomly into the sky, hmmmm.’
Another contributor added: ‘I suspect the local firearms officer will rescind that shotgun licence.’
A Cumbria Police spokesperson said: ‘Police received a report at 8.38pm on May 17 of criminal damage to a drone in the Ormsgill Lane area of Barrow. The investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made.’
The identity of the drone operator was not revealed in the report.
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