On August 28, 2015, a drone crash-landed into the stands at a US open tournament match. A Brooklyn public school teacher was responsible for the mishap, as reported by authorities.
The teacher, Daniel Verge, aged 26, teaches at the Academy of Innovative Technology. He was arrested on charges of reckless endangerment. Other charges leveled against him are reckless operation of a drone and operating a drone in a New York City park outside of a prescribed area.
His drone, which has four propellers, crashed into an empty section of seats at the Armstrong Stadium on Thursday night. This led to the match being suspended.
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According to what Varley told the cops, his $999.95 Solo drone lost control while he was flying it close to the famous Flushing Meadows Unisphere. He looked for his drone and only found out where it was going online and he read news reports about the drone crash-landing. It was at that time he turned himself in.
It was during the next-to-last game of a hot second-hand match between Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Monica Niculescu of Romania that the drone flew diagonally through the arena into the empty seats.
Pennetta said she first thought it was a bomb when she heard the drone.
“A little bit scary, I have to say,” said Pennetta, who went on to win the match 6–1, 6–4. “With everything going on in the world . . . I thought, ‘OK, it’s over.’ That’s how things happen.”
The district Attorney of Queens, Richard A. Brown, called the incident “the latest close call involving a drone and clearly illustrates that drones cannot be considered children’s toys.”
“Those who engage in conduct of this nature will be held legally accountable for their actions. They will not be treated as children or as innocent hobbyists,” Richard said.
Varley was released after he got a desk appearance ticket.
“This is not a school-related incident, and we will monitor the criminal case closely,” a Department of Education spokesman said. “Any disciplinary action will be taken based on the information from the criminal case.”
A law enforcement source said that when it comes to drones “these cases are handled on a case-by-case basis.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said it will investigate.
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