FAA Investigates After Drone Crashes In Virginia

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The FAA is investigating after a drone crashed into a crowd in Virginia. Several spectators were injured and wondering why the unmanned aircraft was above them in the first place.

Mary Bubala has more.

Most of us think of drones as the lethal, military-controlled tools used to hunt down terrorists in the Middle East, but there is another type of drone. Video shows that drone and what happened to spectators at the Virginia Motor Sports Park as it flew overhead.

The drone–or unmanned aircraft–crashed into the stands, injuring three people.

Police say the remote-controlled aircraft was carrying a camera and capturing video of the event when its batteries died. They say the drone belongs to a filmmaker from Virginia Beach.

Drone technology is becoming more accessible. Many use it for aerial photography. So-called Hexa-copters range from $2,500 to $5,000 or less.

Police departments across the United States are turning to the technology to help at crash sites, missing children cases and standoffs.

“We may send this over to see where they’re at, especially if they’ve got a gun. I mean, I don’t want to see this get shot out of the air but I’d rather have that than an officer shot,” said an official.

But the technology is not fail-proof whether on a large scale–a Navy drone crashed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore last year during a test flight–or a small scale, like this one that crashed in Virginia on Saturday.

The three people injured in the stands were treated on the scene. One was a Naval commander who has facial wounds and says it was a frightening moment.

The FAA is investigating whether the person flying the drone violated any regulations.

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