On Saturday, the Pasadena Police Department reported an incident where an 11-month-old infant suffered cuts and bruises after the collapse of a falling drone.
The pilot of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) lost control of the device, causing it to go crashing down during a movie presentation outside of Pasadena City Hall. Statements from the police report that the debris from the crash did splash damage and struck the child. She was rapidly transported to the Huntington Memorial Hospital and her quarter-inch cut on her head was taken care of. She was released in good health on the same day.
"It could have been much worse," comments Lt. Mike Ingram, who works with the department for air operations. "It's an exciting technology, it just needs to be used appropriately so no one is hurt," he added.
The UAV involved in the incident was a DJI Inspire 1, a camera-carrying quadcopter that costs around $3,000. Police speculates that the pilot flew the device out of his visual range and lost track of it, causing it to descend out of control. The police forwarded the investigation to the Federal Aviation Administration's Field Standards District Office in Van Nuys. If the authority comes to the conclusion that the operator flew his quadcopter in an unsafe manner, he could be fined. Aerial security officials pointed out that fines for careless or dangerous flights can range from $1,000 to $25,000.
"The FAA is concerned with the growing number of reports about unsafe operations and is stepping up both its education and enforcement efforts," Ian Gregor from the FAA said.
According to Gregor, 20 cases against careless drone operators are in motion, five of which have been settled by fines.
Earlier this year, FAA compiled a list of recommendations and rules for drone handling. As common sense would dictate, a UAV should not be flown over 400 feet and not in the presence of vulnerable people or vehicles. Maintaining eye contact with the device at all times is paramount, and keeping the drones out of the way of manned aircraft is essential.
Drone enthusiasts from Southern California made the headlines in the summer, as the authorities attempted to strictly regulate the use of UAVs. This happened after the presence of drones hindered the fire-fighters' actions in San Bernardino County during forest fires.