A New York City businessman claims he was almost hit by a small drone spiraling out of control, which eventually crashed near Manhattan's Grand Central Station Wednesday evening. And now police are looking for the drone's operators, who were caught on camera by...the drone's own camera.
The unnamed businessman, according to WABC-TV, said the radio-controlled drone, weighing only about three pounds, went from flying over the heads of thousands of commuting New Yorkers and tourists to narrowly missing them.
A drone flew 20 to 30 stories above Manhattan streets Wednesday before losing control and crashing. (Image source: WABC-TV video screenshot)
"My first thought was someone has done something reckless and could have put people in danger," he told the local news station.
Picking through the mangled debris, the man retrieved the memory card of the drone and contacted WABC with the footage.
According to the FAA's current regulations, the drone should not have been flying above the crowded streets. (Image source: WABC-TV video screenshot)
Watch WABC's report with some clips of the drone's video:
The businessman said the drone operators chose "their own personal enjoyment over any of the consequences." He continued, saying that they clearly didn't "have control over (the drone) obviously through the most crowded city, most crowded time of the day and I can't believe there's no law against this."
But there is a law against it. The drone, later identified as a Phantom Quadcopter costing about $500, is restricted by the Federal Aviation Administration over congested areas like Manhattan, a spokesperson told WABC.
A Phantom Quadcopter is what crashed in New York City Wednesday evening, nearly hitting a businessman who recovered footage from the device. (Photo: DJI.com)
Around the country in fact, professional drone operators have had to suspend business because permits for commercial use of drones are not yet issued by the FAA -- although it is working on regulations for them.
Although there are restrictions over where UAV hobbyists can fly their aircraft, other incidents of crashed drones still show the potential dangers.
These are all items the FAA hopes to release regulations and guidance on as it opens up the skies to more military, private and commercial drone use by 2015.
As for the NYC drone crash, the businessman told WABC he showed the NYPD the footage, which recorded the face of the drone operators. The man said he felt the police "didn't know how to handle it," but WABC was told the department is investigating the case for potential reckless endangerment.
(H/T: Popular Science)