In a sign of the times, drones are causing trouble in Hollywood. Specifically, police are now on the hunt for a drone operator who caused a major electricity outage in West Hollywood, California.
New details regarding the incident suggest that a drone was flown into some power lines earlier this week, knocking one of the lines to the ground. Approximately 650 people lost power for a three-hour period.
The drone incident occurred just weeks after the Los Angeles City Council imposed stricter laws regarding the use of personal drones.
One of the eyewitnesses to the crash was a producer for ABC News, Chris Gordon. He stated that, “All of the sudden [I saw] a flash – like a boom. And then sparks and you could see the drone dropping to the ground. It landed right . . . in the middle of the intersection and cars were actually driving around the drone and it was smoking in the middle of the street.”
No one was hurt in the incident, but it does highlight the risks associated with the increasing use of such remote-controlled aircraft.
In fact, this type of problem is one that some major companies are trying to avoid by pressuring United States regulators to get on the ball and create uniform regulations regarding drone use. Amazon Prime Air vice president Gur Kimchi points out that current drone operators and companies are not cooperating with each other to create a safe environment. Kimchi stated that Amazon’s proposals to the FAA “can only be safe if everyone else is safe.”
Parimal Kopardekar, head of NASA’s drone management project, stated that he hopes the United States can adopt a universal drone traffic system before a tragedy occurs. “It’s crucial,” he stated. Without a uniform system, “everyone flies anywhere they want to and they end up going into no-fly zones and into firefighting efforts and near airports.”
Other recent problems with drones include one crashing into a crowd at the U.S. Open earlier this year. Also, California firefighters had to temporarily ground their helicopters because people were using drones fitted with video cameras to film fires.