A private drone has crashed on top of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, prompting authorities to consider filing charges against the owner, according to a media report on Friday. Seattle police continue to investigate the incident, but a source close to the investigation said authorities have identified the owner through the drone’s serial number.
The drone crashed on top of the Space Needle, an observation tower, on New Year’s Eve, but it was turned over to police on January 10. Police said that Space Needle management went to the Federal Aviation Administration to report the incident, but were informed they first needed to make a report with local authorities, CNN reported. The FAA said the incident is under investigation, it said.
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The city attorney’s office said while the city does not have any drone ordinances, it could charge the owner with reckless endangerment. That charge, a gross misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and up to a USD 5,000 fine.
In October 2015, the city of Seattle charged a man with reckless endangerment for allegedly losing control of his drone at the city’s gay pride parade. As that drone fell, it crashed into a building and then hit a woman, knocking her unconscious. That case is currently under trial.
Video given to CNN by Space Needle management, and taken from the device, shows the drone hovering around the observation deck before it careens onto a platform near the bottom of a holiday light display. A few people were working on the platform at the time.
The building, which tops out at 605 feet with the spire, was not damaged. “This is the third time we’ve recovered a drone on our property,” Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart said.