New Brunswick

Residents unsettled by mystery drones

People who live in the Bear Island and Lake George area say they are unsettled by the appearance of large drones that have been flying close to their homes for months.
Ashley Hoekman has seen drones flying around her house and the surrounding area.

People who live in the Bear Island and Lake George area say they are unsettled by the appearance of large drones that have been flying close to their homes for months.

Stacey Goodine said she and her husband followed one of the drones recently.

"It had a green flashing light on the front and it had two bright white flashing lights on the back," Goodine said.

"That night I think we saw like two or three and they get up over our farm in Bear Island and they kind of circle and you can see the lights going."

Goodine said the drones have been appearing at night and hovering low over houses and vehicles, but no one seems to know where they are coming from or what they're doing there.

"It hasn't done anything to us but we don't know if it's video taping us. That's the creepy part."

And she's not alone. In a lengthy thread on Facebook several people say they've seen the same thing.

Ashley Hoekman, who lives on Route 610 has also seen the drones. She didn't realize so many other people had too.

"Now that I've heard that they're all over the place - directly above people's houses, over my parents' barn, like I don't want somebody videotaping inside my house."

She said her husband first noticed them at the end of October and early November.

"At that time it was every night," she said.

Several people in the Lake George and Bear Island area say they’ve seen large drones fly low, circling homes and cars for weeks now, even months. The presence of the drones has residents alarmed and raises questions about privacy regulations and enforcement. 0:37

Hoekman said she has questions about what the drones are doing.

"Can it see into my house? Can it see directly into my windows?"

"I just think if somebody's flying that stuff around then they should ask people's permission," she said.

According to Transport Canada rules, if a drone weighs more than one kilogram, it must stay at least 76 meters away from vehicles and people. Drones can only be flown during the day and must be in plain sight of the operator.

Rule breakers can be fined up to $3,000.

Faris Mahboob, who works on and builds drones, says an operator could be as far as two kilometres away.

He said this seems like irresponsible use of a drone.

"I think people treat them as toys and they don't think of the consequences of flying over people's houses or flying near planes," he said.

The neighbours have contacted Transport Canada. They say they were told that without the name of the operator an investigation can't be opened.