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A Boom and Sparks': Drone Crash Downs Electrical Line in California, Hundreds Lost Power

"All the sudden you just see a flash."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Over 600 people were temporarily without power in California after a hobbyist drone flew into an electrical line Monday afternoon.

The incident affected 647 Southern California Edison customers in West Hollywood, according to KABC-TV.  Local authorities received many 911 calls regarding the unmanned aerial vehicle flying into and downing a power line.

"All the sudden you just see a flash, like a boom and sparks, and you could see the drone dropping to the ground," KABC producer Chris Gordon, who witnessed the incident, said.

Power was restored within a few hours, according to KABC.

Watch the news station's report:

 Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Edward Ramirez told the L.A. Times this is the first time he's heard of a drone flying into a power line, but, overall, other objects doing just that are not unusual.

“We’re accustomed to a variety of items in the line – from small animals to big animals … mylar balloons. It’s always an area of concern,” Villegas told the newspaper.

According to the Times, authorities were still searching for the drone's operator.

Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it is in the process of establishing a required drone registration system. FAA chief Michel Huerta said last week that recent reports of drone sightings from airplane pilots have been "troubling." The FAA believes registration will help them identify operators of UAVs when they break the law.

"When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences," Huerta said.

In other drone news, prison officials at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary are investigating after a drone carrying drugs, hacksaw blades and a cellphone was found crashed on the prison grounds this week.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton said staff at the prison discovered the drone Monday morning after it apparently crashed after clipping some razor wire.

A package connected to the drone with fishing wire contained 5 ounces of marijuana, two hacksaw blades, a cellphone and accessories, cigarettes, cigars, glue, methamphetamines and heroin.

Patton said the agency has notified officials at other prisons to be on the lookout for similar efforts to smuggle contraband.

The Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester houses some of the state's most violent and dangerous offenders, including Oklahoma's death row.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Front page image via Shutterstock.

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