You may have seen footage coming out of Zhengzhou, China, this weekend of people running for cover as drones started to fall from the sky. The incident was certainly bizarre, but what caused the dystopian ‘drone shower’ is still a bit murky.
The incident, described by one Twitter user as a Black Mirror subplot, unfolded during a drone show at the Wanda Plaza shopping mall in Zhengzhou High-tech Zone in Henan Province.
Drone shows are super popular in China. They’re used to celebrate just about anything and this particular one was celebrating the Wanda Plaza shopping mall.
In videos posted by local media, and spectators, some 200 drones are seen forming the name of the shopping mall, before dozens went dark and plummeted.
According to Vice, spectators were then heard shouting ‘be careful’ and ‘back off’ as they ran away from the drones.
It is believed around 5,000 people, many of them children, were watching the show when the drones started falling from the sky.
Drones raining from the sky in Zhengzhou ????
Word on the street is that a rival drone company that lost the bid interfered to overwhelm the drones nav system!pic.twitter.com/MukM8PjJJr
— Sheel Mohnot (@pitdesi) October 4, 2021
Speculation mounted around the cause of the incident, with some blaming competing drone companies or, more innocently, an internet connection dropping out.
It has been reported that local drone outlet Kanzhaji says police are investigating if a rival operator somehow jammed the transmission signals, but an organiser told China News Services that ‘operation errors’ might have led to the fall.
A drone crash in May last year occurred during a holiday performance in Chengdu, China. It is believed a police investigation pointed the blame at drone jammers, allegedly used by a rival company.
While it is unclear what exactly caused this accident, no injuries have been reported.