British Columbia

'Dangerous' drone caught on camera flying close to fireworks crowd

Ontario visitor David Baker was walking up Davie Street with thousands of other fireworks goers when he noticed a drone flying just metres overhead of the big crowd.

'My feeling was he knew what the rules were, he was just flagrantly violating them,' says witness

A drone flies dangerously close to thousands of people walking up Davie Street in Vancouver after Wednesday night's fireworks. (David Baker)

Ontario visitor David Baker was walking up Davie Street with thousands of other fireworks goers Wednesday night when he noticed a drone flying just metres overhead of the big crowd.

"This was highly dangerous," said Baker. "I fly drones myself and have done some commercial work and I know the rules." 

"The blades of a drone are spinning unbelievably fast and if they touch somebody they'll cut them, and can severely injure them," he said.

Baker shot a four-minute video of the drone and its operator and sent it to CBC.

"This particular drone was only five feet above people's heads and then flying straight up through the bus [trolley] wires. If it hit the wires it could have crashed on someone's head."

At one point in the video someone throws something at the drone, but it remains in flight.

Later, the operator, who identifies himself as a Vancouver Film School student, appears to lose sight of the device.

Vancouver Police confirmed they confiscated a drone that crash landed at Davie and Denman streets, narrowly missing a number of people. They could not say if it was the same drone that appears in Baker's video. 

VPD Sgt. Randy Fincham says one drone was confiscated by police after the fireworks when it crash landed at Davie and Denman, narrowly missing a group of people. (CBC)

"At the peak last night we had five or six drones flying around which is a pretty dangerous situation," said VPD spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham. "We are going to be working with Transport Canada in regards to the seizure of the drone." 

Transport Canada rules restricts drones and operators from flying "in populated areas or near large groups of people, including ... fireworks shows."

Regulations also specify that unmanned air vehicles (UVAs) not fly:

  • Closer than nine kilometres from any airport.
  • Near sporting events, concerts and festivals
  • Near moving vehicles, highways, bridges, busy streets

"My feeling was he knew what the rules were, he was just flagrantly violating them," said Baker.

In December, world ski champion Marcel Hircsher narrowly escaped certain injury when a camera drone fell from the sky during a race in Italy.

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