Quadcopter crashes into wedding guests, wedding guests sue

quadcopter wedding crash
Isaac74/123RF
If you own a drone, you’ll already know to keep your flying machine well away from airports and national parks. And now you might want to add weddings to the list, too.

Two guests at a New Hampshire wedding recently filed a negligence lawsuit against groom Barry Billcliff and wedding planning firm Searles Castle after a quadcopter smashed into their faces during the event.

The out-of-control copter caused some pretty nasty injuries, with one of the women suffering a gash to her head that needed 20 stitches to fix, and the other a fractured nose and broken bone around the eye, the Boston Herald reported.

The wedding guests had been enjoying themselves on a dance floor under a large tent at the event earlier this year when the drone suddenly came flying toward them.

The suit, filed last week at Rockingham Superior Court near Manchester, New Hampshire, alleges that Billcliff was piloting the machine when the accident occurred. But the groom has always denied involvement, insisting he was among a crowd of guests near the stage when the crash took place. He told the Herald he’s still trying to discover who was flying the drone at the time of the incident.

However, Scott Robb, vice president of Searles Castle, said he told Billcliff earlier in the day to stop flying his drone, and claims he never gave the groom permission to use it during the wedding event. While Billcliff at first agreed to Robb’s request to stop using the flying machine, it’s alleged that he fired it up again later on. And we know what happened next.

Regardless of whether Billcliff was at the controls or not, this regrettable story of a more unusual kind of wedding crasher serves as a stark reminder of the kind of damage a quadcopter can cause if handled without due care and attention – an issue Enrique Iglesias knows all about.

But while the incident at Billcliff’s wedding was unfortunate to say the least, we’re likely to see more camera-equipped quadcopters flying over such events in the near future. Thanks to their ability to capture stunning shots from up high, and the FAA’s decision this year to relax rules for commercial drone pilots, a growing number of wedding photographers are becoming interested in using the machines to grab aerial photos and video of outdoor ceremonies and parties.

At the end of the day it’s really all about skill and experience, with at least one early adopter of the technology known to have adopted it a little too early, as his wedding video from a couple of years ago clearly demonstrates.

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