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German man faces four charges for Yellowstone Lake drone crash


JACKSON, Wyo. – A German national who crashed a drone in Yellowstone National Park is facing four misdemeanor charges.

Andreas Meissner of Koenigswinter, Germany, was charged with four misdemeanors, including violating a park ban on drones.

Charges were filed in Cheyenne federal magistrate court on Aug. 27. The other three counts include filming without a permit, leaving property unattended and giving a false report to authorities.

Meissner corresponded with park officials after the July 17 drone crash. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney.

Each misdemeanor count carries up to a maximum six months in jail and possible fines.

Park rangers say Meissner was flying a drone and filming when the drone lost power and crashed near the Great Village Marina on Yellowstone Lake. He was filming a documentary about a charity cycling tour.

According to court records, the park issued permits for the bike tour, one of which mentioned a film crew. But the park claims it didn’t approve any filming.

Meissner said park officials told him he didn’t need a film permit because the tour and documentary were nonprofit in nature, the records say.

A ranger wrote that Meissner asked for help retrieving a camera from the lake but didn’t initially mention it had been attached to a drone. He first said he was filming from a kayak, according to Ranger Steven Noh.

The National Park Service banned drones in all national parks in June. Since then, rangers in Yellowstone and nearby Grand Teton National Park have issued a handful of citations.

In August, Donald Criswell of Oregon was cited for flying an unmanned aircraft over Yellowstone’s Midway Geyser Basin. Also in August, Theodorus Van Vliet of the Netherlands was cited after his drone allegedly crashed into the park’s Grand Prismatic Spring.

In Grand Teton, rangers say a man crashed a drone into a tree in June, possibly while trying to get aerial photos of wildlife.

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