Drone pilot watches in disbelief as someone shoots his device out of the sky when it accidentally strays into a no-fly zone – as police investigate “punitive damage” in the first case of its kind in the UK
- Drone was accidentally flown near Walney Aerodrome, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
A drone operator filming aerial footage of vintage cars watched in horror as his device was shot out of the sky with a shotgun, a report shows.
The incident occurred when the drone was accidentally flown illegally in a no-fly zone near an airfield where drones are banned.
This is believed to be one of the first times in the UK that someone has actually taken the law into their own hands to shoot down a drone.
Police are now investigating the incident as a possible case of property damage after the drone apparently crashed to the ground riddled with shotgun shells.
Officials say they have not yet arrested or charged anyone in connection with the case.
The operator flew a DJI Mini 2 drone (stock image of the model above) weighing less than 250g near Walney Aerodrome in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
The no-fly zone near Walney Aerodrome is shown in the map above. The drone pilot is said not to have noticed that he was flying in a restricted drone area
According to a report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the incident occurred in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, on May 17 this year.
The operator was flying a DJI Mini 2 drone that weighed less than 250g, meaning it was subject to less stringent rules than other devices.
But he is said not to have realized that he was flying in a drone restricted area due to the proximity of Walney Aerodrome, just over a mile away.
Typically, drones are banned from flying within two miles of the airfield to prevent the risk of collisions with aircraft.
The report states: “The remote pilot piloted the 249g UA (unmanned aircraft) at an altitude of approximately 30m over private property to photograph some vintage cars located there.”
“He did not know that he was flying in a no-fly zone at a nearby airfield because the UA manufacturer’s app did not indicate this and he had not checked any official source.”
“On the video feed he saw a person on the property taking photos of his UA and talking on the phone.
Drones are normally banned from flying within two miles of Walney airfield (pictured) to prevent the risk of collisions with aircraft
“The individual then walked away but returned with a shotgun and shot the UA, causing it to fall to the ground.” The incident was the subject of a police investigation.
The incident sparked debate on the Commercial Drone Pilots (UK) Facebook group. One user commented: “You can’t fly a drone weighing less than 250g in airspace, but you can randomly fire a shotgun in the sky, hmmmm.”‘
Another contributor added: “I suspect the local firearms officer will revoke the shotgun license.”
Cumbria Police said: “At 8.38pm on May 17, police received a report 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 disclosed in the report.