After four days with no leads, Seattle police are scouring the city for the unknown pilot who crashed a drone into the Great Wheel Wednesday evening.
According to police reports, someone reported that a UAV had struck one of the wheel’s arm and plummeted earthward. The Great Wheel is the largest observation Ferris wheel on the West Coast, standing 175 feet tall. The wheel has 42 fully-enclosed gondolas and can hold over 300 passengers.
“[The drone] careened off one of the spokes of the wheel and crash landed on the upper deck of the Fisherman’s Restaurant,” Wayman Earls III told KOMO.
“It crashed into a table, and broke the table. We have plastic all over,” Great Wheel manager Michael Fuqua said in media reports.
Seattle Police spokesperson Patrick Michaud said the errant DJI Phantom did not strike anyone and did not appear to cause any serious damage.
Fuqua told the Seattle Times that investigators have the serial number and will be contacting DJI in an attempt to locate the owner. The Great Wheel is located within a no-fly area, Fuqua added.
Seattle has experienced a number of drone-related problems in the past few years. In June, police charged a man with reckless endangerment after his UAV struck a 25-year-old woman during the city’s Pride Parade, rendering her unconscious.
Also in June, a drone stuck in a power line over Lake Union’s Mallard Cove for nearly a week finally came down at a cost of nearly $35,000 to Seattle City Light. The drone had become a nuisance to the houseboat tenants in Mallard Cove because of a loud buzzing it created hanging off the 115,000-volt transmission line — and it also decreased the efficiency of the line, said Seattle City Light spokesman Scott Thomsen.
In June of 2014, Candace Hackett called police to report a drone was spying on her in her apartment near Stewart Street and Perry Avenue. She said when she looked down, she saw its operator pack up camera equipment into a car and take off. Neighbors admitted to being slightly creeped out. “It’s a little odd,” Sameer Gopalani said. “I wonder why it would be flying around and to what purpose.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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