Teen Injured by His Own Fishing Drone While Flying in Prohibited Area

by Vern Evans

A 14-year-old angler who was hospitalized in Florida over the weekend has only himself to blame. The teenager was flying his fishing drone on Dania Beach, where drones are strictly prohibited, when he was cut by the drone’s propeller blades, according to 7-News Miami.

The incident occurred Sunday morning on the Dania Beach Fishing Pier, which overlooks the popular beach just south of Fort Lauderdale. Officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office told 7-News that by the time deputies arrived at 9 a.m., the teenager was bleeding badly from multiple lacerations. Paramedics then transported him to a nearby hospital. The boy’s identity has not been released, and his current condition is unknown. The BCSO did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

An eyewitness identified only as James, who frequents the public pier and was there when the teen injured himself, told reporters that he and others had warned him not to fly his drone. The devices are prohibited at Dania Beach, and there are multiple signs on the pier stating this, according to 7-News.

Drones are a growing source of ethical and regulatory controversy in sporting circles, with some arguing that drones give sportsmen an unfair advantage and violate the fair-chase principles that guide ethical hunting. On the fishing side, drones are most often used as bait-delivery devices, allowing anglers to fly their baits out much farther than they could otherwise cast them.

“It’s illegal to do a lot of things here, but he snuck [the drone] under his cooler,” James told 7-News. “We told him not to fly it. He said, ‘It’s fine,’ so we just let him do what he wanted to do.”

Read Next: Will Drones Take Over Fishing or Be Banned From It?

James said the teen was retrieving his drone when his wrist and finger were torn up by the drone’s propellers. He described “a lot of blood gushing” and said he and others tried to help.

“A few people stopped, and he took his shirt off, and we tied it up, and then, after that, we called 911,” James said. He also clarified that the teenager was from out of town.

The boy’s parents were contacted after he was taken to the hospital, according to NBC-6 News, and they cooperated with deputies. The BCSO told reporters that they have not charged the boy, and that any charges or penalties would be determined by the Federal Aviation Administration. Drones are classified as unmanned aircraft in the U.S., and they’re regulated as such by the FAA.

“Drone operators who conduct unsafe operations that endanger other aircraft of people on the ground could face fines that exceed $30,000,” the FAA explained in a statement shared with 7-News. “In addition, we can suspend or revoke drone operators’ pilot certificates.”

It’s not immediately clear how the case will be handled given the offender is a minor. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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