A mystery drone has crashed into the Sydney Harbour Bridge, causing counter terrorism officers to be alerted and an investigation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, just a day before the start of the International Navy Fleet Review, which has already drawn thousands of spectators to the harbour and foreshore. However police believe the two are not linked.
At about 10pm on Wednesday, Harbour Bridge security discovered the device, which had a camera attached, near one of the southern pylons and handed it in to police.
“At this stage police don’t believe that the quad-copter is suspicious and is most likely for recreational use. Investigations are continuing but anyone with information or (who) knows who owns it is invited to contact police.”
It is understood police have downloaded and will review footage from the drone.
A spokesman for CASA confirmed it was now investigating the incident.
“It’s early to draw any conclusions but this would appear on the surface of it to be operating a machine in an area which would probably be inappropriate, and certainly colliding with the bridge structure is something that shouldn’t have happened.”
Mr Gibson said those operating remotely piloted aircraft must keep them at least 30m away from any people, buildings or structures and to check with local council where they can be used. He said airspace around the Harbour Bridge was restricted, even for small aircraft such as drones.
“The onus is on you to operate the machine safely and there are regulations and fines attached … of hundreds of dollars,” he said.
It follows an incident in New York this week where a man was almost hit by a remotely piloted drone when it crash landed in Midtown Manhattan during peak hour.
Footage taken from the drone showed it had been launched from the balcony of a highrise apartment and flown erratically for several minutes before it clipped the corner of a building and crashed.
Police are now seeking to identify the operator, whose face is clearly shown in the footage