UAS Flies into Seattle Ferris Wheel

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An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) reportedly crashed into the Seattle Great Wheel, a 175-foot-high observation wheel on 1301 Alaskan Way, yesterday evening.

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD) blotter, police are still trying to identify the operator of the drone, which was spotted by a security guard at 4:45 p.m. as it hit the center of the ride and then fell on a plastic table on the pier underneath – creating a “basketball-sized hole” on the table.

The SPD blotter notes that the UAS did not cause any injuries or “significant damage” to the Seattle Great Wheel.

KING 5 News provides a photo of the aircraft, a DJI Phantom 3, which is now in the custody of the SPD. The report says the ride closed shortly while being inspected but then reopened.

Michael Fuqua, a Great Wheel employee, told KING 5 that it appeared the operator “may have been trying to fly the drone through the spokes and careened off of there.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation, along with an industry task force, are currently in the process of coming up with provisions for a drone registry system, which would aim to identify the operators of rogue drones. The agencies say the system will be finalized by mid-December.

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I’m think the guy who owns that thing is a pretty nervous character about now! He will be found. 🙂