For years, the drone industry has been weighed down by a minority of irresponsible pilots flying where and when they shouldn’t: disrupting firefighting efforts, getting way too close to manned aircraft, and even delivering contraband into prisons.
If reports from Maine are to be believed, it seems we can add another negative application to the list: stalking.
News Center Maine has reported that a woman in Gorham was followed by a drone on consecutive days last week.
The first incident took place when she was driving home from work on Tuesday, January 21. Mary Dunham was heading home when something in the sky caught her eye.
“I’m looking at the tree line and I see a really bright star, and I was like wow that’s really early for a star to be out,” Dunham told News Center Maine.
After deciding that it was actually a drone, Dunham said the drone kept following, even as she got to a stop sign and took a right.
“I realized I didn’t want to drive home. I don’t feel safe as this thing is purposely following me now.”
Instead, Dunham drove to a nearby gas station and called the police while she waited in her car.
“When the officer arrived he did, in fact, observe the drone flying overhead. The drone started at that point to actually start following the officer” said Gorham Deputy Chief Michael Nault.
The next day, Dunham says the drone reappeared above her house as she was leaving to go to her brother’s house in Standish, some 8 miles away.
“The drone followed me all the way to Standish. I was on the phone with police the whole time,” she said.
Then, once Dunham arrived in Standish the police showed up and watched the drone – which was reportedly watching them – for more than 20 minutes.
Was this really a drone?
From Gatwick Airport’s mystery drone(s) to Colorado‘s recent flock of fixed-wing aircraft, our first instinct always is to question the drone-spotting expertise and intentions of those telling the story.
In many of these situations, the number of times it turns out not to have been a drone after all is high.
Having said that, elements of this drone mystery have been corroborated by local police – even if the notion of a drone following a moving vehicle for 8 miles and then hovering around for a further 20 minutes (as is apparently the case from Dunham’s account of Wednesday, January 22) – seems more than a little farfetched.
There are two possible conclusions from all of this. 1: Gorham, Maine, is home to a highly-skilled, determined and creepy drone prankster with some market-leading gear and nothing better to do.
Or 2: Someone isn’t being entirely honest.