Michael Portillo caught up in drone drama on vintage ship at Pier Head


Ex-Defence Secretary Michael Portillo was in the line of fire when a mid-air drone camera crashed into a vintage cruise ship sailing from Liverpool’s Pier Head.

He was on board the MV Balmoral as it left on Sunday morning, to film scenes for his new documentary – The Enemy Files – on the 1916 Irish Easter Rising.

But as he positioned himself on the stern for the clinching shots alongside the Liver Buildings, the circling and recording drone suddenly went AWOL.

The mini electronic helicopter nosedived into a flagpole, and ricocheted onto a senior deck hand, as he tried to throw himself out the way.

Passenger Kenneth Ford was on the Balmoral with his wife, enjoying a trip from Liverpool to Llandudno in north Wales, and watched the drama unfold.

The 76-year-old, from Haydock, Merseyside, said: “Portillo was on the ship with all his camera crew entourage.

“We could see the drone circling in the sky above us, but it all went wrong when it came down, and got entangled in the stern flag, and took out one of the crew men.

“It was pretty chaotic.”

Paul Doubler, spokesman for the Balmoral, said: “The drone was supposed to film Portillo on the stern, but it collided with the shop, and bounced off our bosun.

“He was fine in the end, and no member of public was hurt.

“We’re disappointed this happened.”