When a camera-equipped drone crashed into Sydney Harbour Bridge early last month, Aussie cops first suspected a possible terrorist incident, especially with it happening just a day before a huge event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy entering the harbor for the first time.
The flying machine was eventually linked to quadcopter enthusiast Edward Prescott, who visited Sydney police after reading on news sites about the “mysterious” drone found on the bridge.
After taking back his damaged drone, Prescott discovered that the whole incident had been captured by its on-board camera, and by “the whole incident” we mean from taking off to hitting the bridge to landing on a rail track to being picked up by a train driver to being examined by train staff back at the main office.
Edited highlights of a day in the life of a crashed drone have recently appeared online (below) and make for some breathtaking, as well as amusing, viewing.
Things start off smoothly enough – it appears to be a calm and beautiful Sydney evening as the drone lifts off, turning to capture a couple of seconds of its operator, who you can just make out in the shadows.
However, a sudden problem with the camera mount causes Prescott to lose control of the drone, with footage showing it passing at speed through the steel framework of the bridge, miraculously missing the girders as it flies precariously from one side to the other, crossing over traffic as it goes.
On the way back, however, it wasn’t so lucky, crashing into the framework. Somehow it survives the first knock, while a second sends it tumbling down onto the train track.
With the camera still filming, we see a train pull up, its driver alerted by the drone’s flashing red light.
As the driver travels along with the drone by his side, he radios back to base and says, ever so matter-of-factly, “It’s an odd looking little plane, it’s got a red light flashing, I don’t know whether it’s a bomb or not.” Those laid back Aussies, eh.
As he hands it over to a member of staff at Sydney Trains, the driver says, “That’s a first….a model airplane that crashed on the bridge.”
The video continues, capturing footage of its journey between various Sydney Trains offices, with staff reactions all recorded.
Looking straight into the camera, a worker says, “It’s got one camera lens. And it’s flashing, like it’s red now.” Later we see another employee take a picture of it with his smartphone.
Prescott was convinced his drone was lost forever when it went out of control in early October.
“Imagine my surprise when the results of the Internet search came back with a plethora of media sites from around the world carrying a story about a ‘mystery drone’, counter-terrorism investigation and a police hunt for the owner,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald, adding, “Needless to say, I contacted the aviation authorities and Sydney police immediately.”
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority is reportedly yet to make a decision on whether to take any action against Prescott in relation to the incident.