City considers drone ban at events after two Summerfest drone crashes



ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – There was a crowd of thousands on Central Saturday and two drones flying overhead. One of them crashed into a tree, barely missing a group of people. The city is now looking at what it can do to prevent a tragedy.

“I saw a drone flying overhead and it just all of a sudden started descending on this tree right here and got caught up right in the tree,” said Charles Brusseau.

The crash sent people ducking for cover.

“We thought it was gonna hit one of the cars, so we were just watching for it to hit the cars or someone sitting right here. There was a bunch of people sitting below the tree,” said Allen Stephens.

Luckily no one was hurt, but it was the second Summerfest this year where a drone flying over the crowd crashed. At the last one in the Heights, a person suffered a minor cut after one came down on him.

The Federal Aviation Administration is in charge of regulating drones. They are never supposed to be flown over a crowd because of their dangerous blades.

“The biggest thing is just maintaining away from the blades, the blades are spinning at a very high rpm and they can cut you. You also do have some carbon fiber blades out there, so it’s like swinging a big razor, so you always want to be careful,” said Hobby Proz Owner, Bobby Davis.

At Hobby Proz there are many different kinds of drones available for purchase. Anyone can learn to fly one, but experts say you have to follow some simple guidelines.

Davis said, “Usually what we try to tell our customers is stay five miles away from an airport and under 400 feet and that way you’re not in any flight paths or anything like that.”

Now the mayor’s office is seeing if it can ban drones at city events. In the meantime, the experts hope drone pilots will use common sense.

“They do have failures, some of them more than others, so you’ve really gotta be careful where you’re flying,” said Davis.

The city’s legal department is researching the issue. Balloon Fiesta has banned drones, but that’s an FAA regulated flying event.

Singer Enrique Iglesias suffered a deep cut on stage back in May after grabbing ahold of a drone that his crew was flying over his concert.

Drones for public use can weigh up to 55 pounds.