Technology

Drone crashes into Empire State Building

Empire State Building
Image caption The drone crashed into the 1,454ft (443m) building's 40th floor, police say

A man charged with crashing a drone into the Empire State Building has apparently tweeted that a policeman had told him it was "fine" to fly there.

Police say a drone hit the New York skyscraper's 40th floor and then fell on to a ledge five levels lower.

Sean Riddle was charged with reckless endangerment and illegal navigation of an aircraft in and over the city.

The tweet, from a Twitter account in his name, also blames a year-old news article for its misleading information.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption It is not clear what model of drone is said to have hit the building

"All I wanted was to shoot five seconds of video to promote a non-profit," the tweet says.

"I asked a cop 20 minutes before I did it. He said it was fine.

"Aside from asking a cop, I went to this website: Where to fly a drone in New York City, legally."

However, US drone owners are being urged to consult the Know Before You Fly website, backed by drone makers and the Federal Aviation Administration, which shows the Empire State Building and much of the rest of Manhattan has been designated as a restricted zone because of its heliports and helipads.

Image copyright Know Before You Fly
Image caption The Know Before You Fly website clearly shows the Empire State Building is in a restricted zone

The website also says recreational users should:

  • not fly over unprotected people or moving vehicles
  • keep drones below 400ft (121.9m) and any obstacles
  • keep drones at least 25ft (7.6m) away from people and vulnerable property
  • check all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property

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