Another Drone Incident, This Time in Seattle

Incidents like this -- a flying drone that hit the giant Ferris wheel near downtown Seattle’s waterfront -- are increasing in popularity across the country, and are forcing many to push for more regulation.

by Jessica Lee, The Seattle Times / November 12, 2015
This photo of Seattle taken from a DJI Phantom 3 Drone shows the giant Ferris wheel that a drone recently flew into. flickr/Daniel Gasienica

(TNS) -- A flying drone hit the giant Ferris wheel near downtown Seattle’s waterfront Wednesday, crashing into a nearby pier and prompting a police response, according to Seattle police.

Seattle Great Wheel security workers reported the strike to police around 4:45 p.m., police spokesman Mark Jamieson said. When officers arrived to the observation deck, they looked for possible damage and confiscated the aircraft. No injuries or damages were reported.

“At this point, we don’t know who was operating it,” Jamieson said. “No one came forward while we were investigating; security didn’t have any information when we were there.”

The wheel on Elliott Bay is believed to be the largest of its kind on the West Coast, standing 175 feet tall, according to the Seattle Great Wheel’s website. It’s open year-round and can hold up to 300 passengers at a time, the site reads.

Jamieson said drone strikes are fairly uncommon, recalling only one other incident when a drone crashed into a downtown Seattle building and then struck a 25-year-old woman in the head at the Pride Parade this summer.

The aircraft’s operator in that incident was charged with reckless endangerment.

©2015 The Seattle Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.