Drone crash causes Hollywood electricity blackout

Drone crash Image copyright Instagram
Image caption The Viper Room nightclub posted photos of the crashed drone on Instagram

Police are hunting for a drone operator who caused an electricity blackout in West Hollywood, California.

It has emerged that the aircraft in question was flown into power lines on Monday, knocking one to the ground.

About 650 people lost access to electricity for about three hours, according to a local report.

The incident occurred weeks after Los Angeles City Council introduced tougher laws on the use of personal drones.

One of the eye witnesses to the accident was a producer for ABC News.

"All of the sudden [I saw] a flash - like a boom," said Chris Gordon.

"And then sparks and you could see the drone dropping to the ground.

"It landed right over here in the middle of the intersection and cars were actually driving around the drone and it was smoking in the middle of the street."

No one was injured, but the event highlights the risks posed by the increasing popularity of such remote controlled aircraft.

Other recent problems have included a drone crashing into seats during a tennis match at the US Open in New York and a Californian fire department having to temporarily ground helicopters it wanted to use to fight a wildfire because people were using video camera-equipped drones to film the blaze.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A teacher was arrested last month for crashing a drone into empty seats at the US Open

Drone shooter

On 14 October, LA City Council voted to make it a misdemeanour to violate new drone-related laws that forbid the flight of an aircraft within 25ft (7.6m) of another person or closer than five miles (8km) to an airport.

But elsewhere in the US, some people have taken the matter into their own hands.

In one case a Kentucky man shot down a neighbour's drone that he said had flown over his property.

Earlier this week, a judge dismissed charges against William Meredith of first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment.

However, the Ars Technica new site reports that prosecutors still have an opportunity to try to bring the case before a grand jury.

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