Drone crashes into city hall: FAA handling investigation

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A drone crashed through a window on the 23rd floor of Buffalo City Hall. Workers had already gone home for the day when the unmanned aircraft landed in an office last week. The FAA is now investigating.

Although this crash was strictly an accident, a drone flying into a city hall window brings up questions of security for local authorities. When it comes to the drone industry, everything is new for those who fly them and also for those who have to react when that flight goes wrong.

It was an unusual sight for city hall workers, arriving to work, on the community service floor to find a drone that crash landed through the window:

Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramaglia said, “They could’ve been injured with glass flying in like that somebody could have been injured.”

Thankfully no one was injured. But now drone security is something the Buffalo Police Department says they’ll look into.

Gramaglia said, “We all have to be aware of our surroundings all the time, so it’s just the day we live in.”

Leaders invested in metal detectors on the first floor of city hall. Now they’ll have to examine how to deal with drones.

Gramaglia said, “You’re starting to see them out more at rallies and events and festivals and they’re gaining in popularity and its something that’s going to have to be looked at.”

Police say the operator, from Rochester didn’t even know what happened to the drone, and later called police asking if anyone had seen it.

Gramaglia said, “We spoke with him he was very apologetic offered immediately to pay for the damages and hes been cooperating with the investigation.”

He’d been taking pictures of city hall when he lost control of the aircraft. No criminal charges were filed through BPD and now the investigation has been turned over to the FAA.

The FAA released this statement:

The City of Buffalo, NY notified the FAA last Thursday that an unmanned aircraft (drone) was found in the City Hall Building at 65 Niagara St.  The drone apparently crashed through a window on the 23rd floor of the building. No injuries were reported.  The FAA and the Buffalo Police Department are investigating.

Co-Leader of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems of the Drones Industry Team with Harris Beach said, “A drone operator must keep the aircraft in a visual line of sight it should only be flying during the day under 400 feet above the ground level less than 100 miles per hour. The drone should also not be flying over people not involved in the operation of the drone.”

He’ll now pay the $500 it’ll cost to repair the window. Three of the $1,600 dollar drone’s four propellers were damaged.

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