Drone crashes into triathlete; operator blames ‘hacker’ & then victim


These stories are going to become as commonplace as car accidents, given how quickly the skies are filling with insufficiently regulated aerial drones.

A triathlete in Australia sustained a laceration and “the ambulance crew took a piece of propeller from (her) head” after a drone filming the competition crashed into her.  The operator’s excuse is straight out of the celebrity tweet-storm handbook: Someone, he claims, allegedly hacked into his control system and sent the craft careening to the ground. (Yes, it’s conceivable; no, I don’t believe it.)

Literally adding insult to injury, the operator denies that the drone actually hit the woman – propeller shard be damned – insisting instead that it fell harmlessly behind her and that her injuries were the result of her being startled and falling (as if that would mitigate anything).

From an Australian press report:

Raija Ogden, of Perth, said she was hit on the head by the drone when it crashed, denying claims by its owner that she was simply frightened by the machine and fell to the ground.

She labelled the suggestion “horrifying” and said spectators would have seen the drone hit her.

“I have lacerations on my head from the drone and the ambulance crew took a piece of propeller from my head,” she said. “My hair was completely red with blood. I didn’t hit the ground.”

Aviation authorities in Western Australia, who already have their hands full, are said to beinvestigating.

In addition to suggesting that someone else was at the controls at the time of the accident, the operator said, “I’ve had the drone for more than a year, and this is the first time it’s crashed.”

It may be the last after the victim hires a lawyer. 

By Jarrett Neil Ridlinghafer 
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