Footage posted to YouTube last week shows a drone flying mere metres from traffic on the Alex Fraser Bridge. (YouTube screen shot)

VIDEO: Authorities investigating footage of drone near Alex Fraser Bridge

Footage posted to YouTube shows a drone flying next to traffic and around bridge pillars and cables

Delta Police and Transport Canada are investigating online footage showing a drone flying in close proximity to traffic on the Alex Fraser Bridge.

The two-and-a-half-minute video was published to YouTube on Friday, Oct. 27 and shows a group of men flying a drone up and down the pillars and cables of the bridge, as well as alongside traffic.

“You can have drones operated in certain areas but [they] must stay within the regulations,” said Delta Police public affairs coordinator Sharlene Brooks. “That area, Alex Fraser Bridge, is not a drone-approved area, both from an aviation point of view as well as a ground point of view.” 

Under regulations brought in by Transport Canada last spring, drone pilots must keep their crafts within 90 metres of the ground and at least 30 metres from other vehicles, vessels and the public. The video appears to show the drone flying over the top of one of the bridge’s towers — at least 154 metres above ground level — and along the railing of the bridge, decidedly closer than the rules allow.

READ MORE: Transport Canada eases drone regulations

On top of that, drones must be at least 5.5 kilometres from aerodromes (any airport, seaplane base or other area where aircraft take off and land) and within sight of its operator at all times.

Ironically, the video begins with a warning to viewers that reads, in part, “Not all countries and regions regulate drones in the same manner. Always educate yourself on the current laws and regulations of the country, state, province or locality you are flying in.”

Individuals can be fined up to $3,000 per violation, meaning a flight like the one in the video could potentially cost someone upwards of $10,000. But, Brooks said, “If they’re a business and it’s a marketing or business venture, they could be facing upwards of $15,000 [per] fine.”

Operators can apply to Transport Canada for a special certificate to fly their drone in an area that’s otherwise off-limits, however, Brooks said it’s “highly unlikely” one was issued in this case.

“Transport Canada takes into account public safety, both from the air and from the ground,” she said. “Because these drones, you can lose control of them, … there could be a distraction if they fly them too low and in the way and in view of traffic. If they lose control and it just drops out of the air, it could smash into a vehicle, causing a bit of a chain reaction with the vehicle, perhaps a collision and subsequent injury.”

Brooks said the DPD did received a call about a drone flying in the area of the Alex Fraser Bridge on Oct. 24 at around 5:30 p.m., but could not confirm if the incident is related.

Though the video’s YouTube page lists a number of individuals involved in the video’s production, Brooks said it’s a challenge for investigators to determine when it was actually filmed, verify who produced it and locate the individuals.

The clip was uploaded to a YouTube page called Rotor Riot which hosts a weekly show “featuring the world’s most interesting and talented FPV pilots,” according to the description.

FPV refers to first-person view, also know as remote-person view (RPV) or video piloting, in which the drone is flown from a first-person perspective using an on-board camera, fed wirelessly to a video monitor, in this case goggles worn by the pilot.

Rotor Riot’s bio states its mission is “to grow the hobby and drone racing sport by connecting and inspiring individuals through high-end multi-rotor technology.”

Drones have become increasingly popular in the last several years, with everyone from recreational users to scientists and journalists using them to access areas and see things not easily observed.

RELATED: VIDEO: Pod of orcas caught on drone

SEE ALSO: VIDEO: Drone footage shows wolf vs. moose fight in Canada

Brooks said the DPD doesn’t field very many drone-related complaints, noting most owners use them according to Transport Canada guidelines.

“The foolishness of a few impacts the responsible majority,” she said. “It’s just a small group that draws negative attention to those majority that actually operate them responsibly and with the regulations.”



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP, ERT attending incident at Cheam First Nation

Few details are available about the incident, which saw more than a dozen police cars attend

Chiefs kick off exhibition pre-season stint at Hope Arena

Catch the Chilliwack Chiefs on the ice as they prepare for fresh season

Stellar Haze offers up ‘organic rock’ at Memorial Park

Trio hitting the stage for their first live performance this Friday

Kent quarry opposition receives federal support

Green Party leader Elizabeth May wrote to the provincial government to oppose the quarry application

Agassiz United Church to host 37th annual garage sale

The annual sale will take place on Saturday, Sept. 7

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read