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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Woodside bike trail planning underway

With this week’s Council approval, planning can begin

PHOTOS: Sts’Ailes students scale glaciers as part of mountain skills and wilderness program

‘It’s not just about taking kids hiking, it’s actually about connecting them to the land’

Chilliwack man who sexually assaulted young boys released from prison

Statutory release for Don Putt who Parole Board calls an ‘untreated sex offender’

Fraser Cascade superintendent announces retirement

Dr. Karen Nelson has worked for School District 78 for 29 years

Not over yet: Mixture of snow, freezing rain on way as winter storm tapers in Lower Mainland

Environment Canada releases weather alert for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Most Read