It’s time to add “international tennis match” to the list of places where drones have taken high-profile spills. Thursday night, an unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into an empty seating area at a match during the US Open tennis tournament in New York.
The pilot, a 26-year-old NYC teacher, was arrested Friday morning. ESPN is reporting that he’s being charged for reckless endangerment and flying a drone outside a designated area. Apparently he was found in a marina near Citi Field right after the incident, ESPN says.
Last night at around 8.30pm, the drone was buzzing overhead during a match between Romania’s Monica Niculescu and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta. The drone crashed into an open seating area at Louis Armstrong Stadium in Flushing, Queens. It busted into pieces upon landing, but no one was injured.
Pennetta said she heard the drone during the match and thought it was a bomb: “With everything going on in the world… I thought, ‘OK, it’s over.’ That’s how things happen,” she told the AP.
In the embedded tweet below, you can make out the drone, resting on the stairs next to the officer in white:
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) September 4, 2015
Last September, a man was arrested for flying a drone near the Brooklyn Bridge. Later that same week, another man, a filmmaker, was arrested for flying one outside the National Tennis Center around the time of last year’s US Open.
The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits drone use within five miles of airports, Ars Technica points out, and La Guardia International sits around four miles from Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Global sporting events can fill stadiums with tons of spectators. Drones proooobably shouldn’t be among them.