While Flavia Pennetta and Monica Niculescu were embroiled in their tennis match, Daniel Verley a 26 year old teacher crashed his drone into an empty section of seats at the US Open tennis tournament. Verley has now been arrested.
The drone buzzed over the court in Louis Armstrong stadium on Thursday night before crashing into the seats. US Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier said no one was injured.
The black device flew diagonally through the arena during the next-to-last game of a second-round match that 26th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy won 6-1, 6-4 over Monica Niculescu of Romania.
Pennetta said she heard the drone fly by and was not sure what it was. Her initial reaction, she said, was that it might have been a bomb, saying: “A little bit scary, I have to say.
“With everything going on in the world … I thought: ‘OK, it’s over.’ That’s how things happen,” she said, adding that neither the chair umpire nor tournament officials told her that it was a drone.
It broke into pieces upon landing and the match was only briefly interrupted between points while police and fire department personnel went to investigate.
“The chair umpire just wanted to wait for an OK from the police to be able to continue,” Pennetta said, “even if, truthfully, I don’t think even they knew what it was.”
She said her coach and physical therapist were sitting in the opposite end of the stadium from where the drone crashed and they told her later they were afraid, too. “All of these
I’ve was fairly brief in my story introduction because this has been so widely covered:
- Teacher charged over drone crash at US Open
- City teacher charged in ‘scary’ US Open drone crash
- Drone crash lands at U.S. Open
- Drone Crash At U.S. Open; New York City Teacher
In this incident no one was harmed, but as Fortune magazine put it, “the accident exacerbates the debate over how much regulation needs to be applied to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.” If we want to avoid the strong anti-drone laws, we need to start treating these tools with more respect. Get trained not just on how to fly a drone, but also learn local laws and regulations that govern flying, from a reputable drone training school.