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Drone crashes into Buffalo City Hall

Posted at 6:38 PM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 18:38:44-04

Buffalo Police are working out how to handle public safety incidents related to drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), after a drone crashed through a window in City Hall sometime last Wednesday.

A Rochester man was flying the drone Wednesday evening, taking photos of City Hall, when he lost sight and control of the aircraft, according to police. He assumed it flew away and called BPD Thursday to see if anybody had returned a drone. The drone actually crashed through a 23rd story window at City Hall and was discovered by office workers Thursday morning.

Jim Muldoon is the drone industry team leader at Harris Beach PLLC. He explained some of the FAA regulations to keep in mind when operating drones.

  • Do not fly above 400 feet.
  • Do not exceed 100 mph.
  • Do not fly above people that aren't involved in the flying.
  • Do not allow the aircraft to leave eyesight.

Buffalo Police say the Rochester man apparently broke the last regulation.

"He was flying it from a location somewhere behind City Hall and lost sight of it," explained Lt. Jeff Rinaldo. "He wasn't able to recover it because it stopped responding to his controls and he assumed it just flew away."

Police say the man flying the drone has agreed to pay for the damage, which should cost around $500.

The FAA is investigating the incident.