Police are investigating a complaint of reckless endangerment after a small unmanned aerial vehicle – aka a “drone” – fell crashing from the sky onto a midtown sidewalk on Monday, narrowly missing a pedestrian, according to the NYPD.
The 3-pound drone crashed onto a sidewalk near Grand Central Terminal during the evening rush and nearly hit an unidentified financial analyst, who recovered a memory card from the machine’s camera that was recording video of the ill-fated flight, according to ABC/7, which first reported the story.
“My first thought was, ‘Someone’s done something reckless,’ ” the man told ABC/7. “They made an active decision to fly something that they don’t have control over, obviously, through the most crowded city in the most crowded time of the day.”
The NYPD initially didn’t pursue the incident because no law was broken, ABC/7 reported, but the man later filed a complaint of reckless endangerment, which police are now investigating, officials told amNewYork.
FAA regulations prohibit the use of drones in “populated areas” and from being flown more than 400 feet above the ground.
The FAA didn’t respond to requests for comment yesterday on the crash – a voicemail message said the office was closed because of the government shutdown – but the administration told ABC/7 that it does not “currently permit the operation of unmanned aircraft over congested areas like Manhattan.”
Some New Yorkers were worried about the use of camera-equipped drones in the city, saying it could easily lead to violations of privacy.
“This drone was flying around the buildings so close that it had a clear view inside of every window it was flying around,” said Anthony Myers, 28, who lives on the Upper East Side.
“So any drone can just fly up and look in my windows and record?” he said. “There definitely needs to be more regulation on it.”