During a Dec. 22 slalom race at the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that had been filming the event fell and narrowly missed a competing skier.
According to FIS broadcast partner Infront Sports & Media, which cites a malfunction of the aircraft, the DFC-COPTER XR1, operated by a third party, fell into the snow behind Austrian racer Marcel Hirscher.
Infront says in a statement that the drone company believes it was likely a “strong and unforeseen interference on the operating frequency,” but Infront is bringing on an “external independent expert with a formal investigation of the matter.”
“We very much regret that this happened and especially that it was in close proximity to an athlete in this case, Marcel Hirscher. We are extremely relieved that no one was hurt and apologize once again to Marcel Hirscher, as well as to the FIS, the Austrian and Italian Ski Federations, and the Local Organising Committee,” says Infront.
While the matter is being investigated, the company says, “FIS and Infront have decided to refrain from using drones for broadcast purposes until a fully secured operation can be ensured.”
Hirscher later joked on Twitter that there was “heavy air traffic in Italy” and posted a screenshot of the near-miss:In its own statement, FIS adds, “While FIS and its partners aim to use new technology to enhance the fan experience, an accident such as the drone crash cannot happen again. Even if – unlike in Austria, Switzerland and other countries – drones are authorized to fly over a crowd during events in Italy, FIS and the host broadcaster will work together with all the involved parties to see what occurred during the crash and ensure that this will not happen again.”
Photo captured from a YouTube video of the incident – found here.