The drone crash happened on 31 December 2016 (New Year’s Eve). The drone was being flown at height of about 585 feet. The operator had video enabled. The footage was released to the media. Watch the video here: KOMO NEWs Drone Strikes Seattle’s Space Needle
Although there were people working at the site of the crash, no one was hurt. The Space Needle also sustained no damage. The drone was given to the police on 10 January 2017. Reports indicate that the operator has not stepped forward. However, the identity of the drone operator has been confirmed by the police due to the FAA registration number.
FAA regulations dictate that all unmanned aircraft must be registered. The FAA has over 616,000 owners and individual drones registered over the past year. The goal of the regulation is to give accountability to the operators, bringing the drone pilots into the aviation world and instilling a sense of responsibility. The registration number identifies the owner and is used on all associated drones.
The city of Seattle doesn’t have any drone laws at this time, some speculate that this may change as drone crashes increase. The drone crash on 31 December 2016 was not the first incident in the city. The closest charge for the crash has been reported as reckless endangerment. We are anxious to see how events like this will shape drone laws and regulations in the future.