Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

An employee allegedly flew a drone right past Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, sparking even more debate in a city which has grappled with how unmanned aerial vehicles fit into society.

The employee, who was visiting from out of town, told police that the drone did not hit the structure as some reports earlier indicated. The contraption reportedly was not one of Amazon’s high-profile delivery drones, which made news late last year when CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the concept on 60 Minutes.

Interestingly, the incident comes just as President Barack Obama is set to administer new guidelines that relate to the use of drones, according to a report in Politico.

Here’s more from the Seattle Police Department’s blog about the Space Needle fly by:

Seattle’s famous sky-high tourist attraction is still standing after police received reports of a drone crash Tuesday at the Space Needle.

Space Needle security called police just before 8:30 PM after several guests reported  a small drone buzz the top of the Needle, and possibly crash into an observation Deck window. Witnesses then saw the drone—described as a white, quad-propeller unmanned aerial vehicle, equipped with a camera—glide to a hotel two blocks east of the Needle, where it landed inside a fifth floor room.

Police found no signs of damage to the top of the Space Needle.

Security staff pointed out the fifth floor hotel room where the drone had landed, and officers went and contacted a man inside. The man told police he’d just flown his drone past the Needle, but disputed he’d struck anything.

He then showed officers video he’d captured during the drone’s flight, which showed it hovering over the Space Needle’s observation deck as tourists waved. Nothing on the video indicated the drone had hit the Needle.

The man told police he was an employee visiting from out of state, and had recently purchased the drone at a hobby shop. Officers then gave the man a crash course on some of Seattle’s recent drone-related controversies, and he agreed not to fly his drone in public while in town.

Previously on GeekWire: High-tech peepers? Cops called after drone spotted outside of Seattle woman’s apartment window

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  • RW Clark
  • Pantry Pest

    eff the spd

  • James of Arlington

    A drone is a robot. Was this really a flying robot or just a Radio Controlled model quad-copter?

    • Chad C

      Thank you. I wish someone would sue the living shit out of any media site referring to a hobby aircraft as a “drone”. To be a drone it requires some form of autonomy. If someone has to be at the controls all the time it is in flight then it’s just a hobby aircraft and not illegal to fly. People have been using cameras on remote controlled hobby aircraft for decades. I had one when I was a kid in 1978. Stop calling them drones just to get page hits.

  • Anders Haglund

    A “drone” which weights about as much as a seagull. Oh the humanity.

  • Ryan

    Goes to show you the public is full of weirdo’s. “That drone flew into the window!” Oh wait, I just wanted to call the police

  • Chad C

    Saying that this was a drone is like taking a story of a poodle that attacks a person and giving it the head line “Giant monster attacks city!!”
    Drones are autonomous. They can be left operating on their own for long periods of time. This guy was flying a perfectly legal hobby aircraft with a camera. These have been around since the 1960’s.
    It should be a criminal offence to prop up headlines to induce terror for page hits.

  • panacheart

    After showing the SPD the video out of the kindness of his heart he should have told them to go F themselves. No crime committed officer, please be on your way, and no I don’t need your lecture on recent controversies. And it’s not a drone, it’s a radio controlled helicopter.

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