If you visit New Yorker Brian Wilson’s Instagram account, you’ll notice that quite a few aerial snaps of New York City. He owes all of those shots to his recently acquired DJI Phantom 2 Vision, a relatively popular quadcopter drone with an integrated camera.
While New York doesn’t really take to unidentified flying objects flying and buzzing around their neighborhoods especially after 911, and considering that NYPD arrested a Brooklyn musician for “reckless endangerment” for flying and losing control of a drone that crashed at a commuter’s feet near Grand Central last year, Wilson’s gotten away with having that thing hovering around NYC so far. Plus there aren’t really any clear laws concerning the personal and professional use of drones in a public urban space. They’re probably why Wilson felt confident enough to take his new-found hobby to another level.
After a gas leak caused the explosion and collapse of two apartment buildings in East Harlem on Wednesday and left 70 people injured and 8 dead, Wilson took his new toy to the skies to capture images of the tragic wreck. This time, he wasn’t so lucky.
Some might argue that he wasn’t doing anything wrong, that he was no different from any of the photojournalists taking photos of the action from the ground that day, but the NYPD thought differently. After all, the firefighters and rescue team didn’t need the distraction of an unfamiliar buzzing object hovering above them as they combed through the rubble for survivors. Additionally, the authorities weren’t too pleased with the possibility of Wilson losing control of his drone and injuring their personnel.
So they sent him packing but not before he caused speculations and captured an aerial image of the wreckage.
At least, he got off easier than the other guy, without so much as a slap on the wrist.