Drone Pilot Arrested After Empire State Building Crash

Drone Pilot Arrested After Empire State Building Crash

The latest incident involving a badly-piloted drone led to the arrest of 29-year-old Sean Nivin Riddle on Thursday night.

Authorities are struggling to keep up with the proliferation of drones, and rules on their use are ill defined. However it looks as though New Jersey resident Riddle could be in hot water after crashing his UAV into the iconic Empire State Building in New York, writes Melissa Cronin for Gawker.

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Drone pilot arrested after Empire State crash

Police say that Riddle was arrested after losing control of his drone and crashing it into the Empire State Building around 8pm Thursday. After hitting the 40th floor of the skyscraper, the drone fell to a 35th floor landing.

Riddle then went to security to ask for his machine back, but guards called the police instead. He was then arrested at the scene on charges of reckless endangerment and navigation in and over the city.

Police revealed that no injuries and no property damage were reported as a result of the incident.

New York City ordinances need to be updated

The unfortunate enthusiast later revealed that he was trying to take photos of the building. As it stands there are no ordinances that ban drones in New York City, but authorities can press charges if they deem that drones are causing problems.

Reckless endangerment can carry a prison sentence of up to 7 years. Given the exploding popularity of drones and their availability to the general public, regulators are struggling to keep up with a steady stream of incidents.

Authorities are working to better identify and regulate unauthorized flights over security concerns. In September a teacher was arrested after the drone he was piloting crashed into the stands at the U.S. Open.

In Holland, the Dutch National Police is training eagles to take illegal drones out of the sky. The method is certainly a novel way of controlling drones, and other police forces have been experimenting with radio jammers and nets.

While Riddle waits to see what sort of punishment will be meted out to him, it is extremely unlikely that this will be the last controversial incident involving a drone in New York or anywhere else.

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