18-month-old Oscar Webb has lost an eye after a drone flown by Simon Evans, a family friend hit him. His eye was sliced in half by the drone’s propeller after Evans lost control of the drone.
The toddler, who is from Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, will undergo several surgical operations before he can have a prosthetic eye fitted in.
Oscar’s surgeon said this was the first drone injury she’s seen but added that it was inevitable and that there would be many more.
How It Happened
Narrating how the whole thing happened, Mr Evans said: “It was up for about 60 seconds. As I brought it back down to land it just clipped the tree and span round.
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“The next thing I know I’ve just heard my friend shriek and say ‘Oh God no’ and I turned around and just saw blood and his baby on the floor crying,” he said.
Oscar’s mother, Amy Roberts, said she was taking him to a Birmingham hospital in the ambulance when he opened his eye. What she saw was etched into her memory.
“What I saw, I can still see it now, and what I saw or what I thought I saw was the bottom half of his eye and it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” she said.
“I just hoped and prayed all the way there that what I saw wasn’t true and wasn’t real,” she added.
Oscar won’t be totally blind though, he can still see out of his uninjured eye.
Seven weeks ago, before Oscar’s accident, his family were unaware of the potential safety issues surrounding drones.
A consultant in oculoplastics and orbital surgery at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, Faye Mellington, said she and her team “knew straight away the outlook for Oscar’s vision long term was extremely poor”.
“I have seen a lot of ocular injuries, but never in someone so young, and I’ve not seen one from a drone,” she said.
“That said, given their popularity and the common use, it’s inevitable that we’ll see a lot more,” she added.
The Civil Aviation Authority has released guidelines for flying drones safely, which will be vetoed by the public before a government strategy will be published. The strategy will be published in 2016.
According to Transport Minister Robert Goodwill, the consultation, which will be done by the Department of Transport, will cover “the full range of issues relating to remotely piloted aircraft systems and drones and their use in UK airspace, including licensing and registration.”
Oscar’s grandmother, Anita Roberts, after seeing a broadcast on the safety of drones, expressed shock at the number of people who thought the gadgets “were just toys”.
Mr. Evans, has been forgiven by Oscar’s family who see what happened as an “awful accident”. He has not been able to use a drone since then though.
“I look at the drones in the garage and I feel physically sick,” he said.
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