On the face of it, drones are a fabulous innovation. They have a wide variety of useful applications and have helped television broadcasters to produce amazing footing of sporting events. Amazon have even been planning to use drones to deliver orders to our homes. But these little flying marvels have also created a raft of issues.
Criminals and Terrorists
Criminals have been using drones to fly contraband into prisons and terrorist have been flying them over potential targets in order to video buildings and to deliver explosives. To make matters worse, these devices are now so cheap that anyone can afford to buy one, but many people are not at all sensible about where and when they fly them. Then there are the drone-related accidents which have occurred at sporting events.
In December 2015 a camera drone fell out of the sky and narrowly missed hitting skiing star Marcel Hirscher during a slalom race at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy. Hirscher sensed the impact but carried on skiing. He wasn’t hurt but the incident could easily have been much more serious.
Now three people have been injured by a horse that was spooked by a drone.
The incident took place at a Skijoring race in Colorado. This is a strange sport which involves skiers being pulled along by horses. During the race concerned, a large crowd had already gathered to watch the proceedings when a horse on the start line was spooked by a low flying drone. The horse ran into the crowd injuring three people.
Three People Hospitalised
One woman suffered a gashed head, and another was hospitalised with a hip injury. A man suffered a cut chin but did not require treatment. The drone was being flown by a man from a nearby town. The sheriff has indicated that the guilty party will probably receive a fine. It is illegal to fly drones over a crowd.
This incident did not result in a tragedy, although the injured spectators probably weren’t terribly amused. But it does raise the spectre of trouble ahead. More and more people are buying drones and not all of them are terribly responsible about how they fly them. The consequences for riders and horses could be very serious indeed.