Asia Multirotor

Police probe drone crash at Himeji Castle


A drone was found Saturday on the roof of recently renovated Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture, municipal officials said.

The multirotor drone, measuring about 60 cm on all sides, was found damaged on the roof tiles of its fifth floor, the Himeji officials said, adding that a guard on a routine patrol in the morning spotted it flying at an altitude of about 46 meters. Its rotors were apparently broken during the crash.

No damage was found to the walls or roof tiles in the area, but what appear to be scratches made by its rotor blades were found on a nearby window frame, the officials said.

Himeji Castle is a designated national treasure. The police are investigating the incident and looking for the person who was flying the drone. Damaging a cultural asset could lead to prosecution.

A total of 15 drones have been spotted flying near Himeji Castle since 2013, but this is the first confirmed crash, officials said.

“Drones are useful, but we’d like to request people to fly them in a sound manner and with sound morale,” said Hiroki Ishikawa, chief of the castle’s management office. “This incident is quite regrettable.”

A recently enacted law bans the flying of drones near the prime minister’s office and other important facilities, such as airports and nuclear power plants. The law was quickly enacted after a nuclear protester landed a drone with a radioactive payload on the roof of prime minister’s office in April, where it sat undetected for two weeks.

More than five years of major renovations to Himeji Castle were completed in March.

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