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Drone crashes through car window and hurts child in Eau Claire

Eau Claire (WQOW) — As technology evolves, there’s a new threat.

Without training, drones can be dangerous, and that rang true Saturday.

“A drone basically came out of the air and ran into a rear passenger window of the vehicle, breaking out the window and injuring a 15 month old passenger that had been in a car seat in the rear of that vehicle. That child sustained minor injuries,” said Eau Claire Police Officer Bridget Coit.

Coit said this is the first time they’ve seen a drone accident like this.

It happened Saturday night, she said the operator was flying the drone in the parking lot of America’s Best Value Inn on Clairemont Avenue. Coit said the operator lost control, and the drone crashed into a car on the road.

Luckily the child will recover, but one local drone pilot said it could’ve been much worse.

“With the advent of the drone, the popularity it’s gaining, I think it’s imperative that people take the necessary steps to make sure they’re flying safely,” said drone pilot Jake Hrudka.

Hrudka took a class on drones at CVTC and flies them for the college. He has a drone pilot license from the FAA, but said you don’t need any training or permit to fly drones for fun.

“It could be pretty significant, depending on where you take a drone and you drop it going 40 plus miles an hour maybe two four hundred feet in the sky, it could really injure somebody,”Hrudka said. “It could go through a car windshield, it could hit somebody in the head it could cause an accident if you’re flying over a road.”

In this case, the drone was legally flying over the road, but Hrudka said always make sure you’re not flying in bad conditions.

Coit said the FAA has taken over the case. Authorities still aren’t sure what caused the drone to go down.

“He had lost control of that drone and a witness reported the drone coming out of the air in about a 45 degree angle directly into the rear window of that vehicle,” Coit said.

Hrudka said if all drone operators took classes, it could make the skies and the ground safer.

“To know the rules, know the regulations, know that you can only fly at 400 feet above ground level,” Hrudka said. “Know that you can only fly it in certain temperatures, know that you can’t fly over large groups of people those types of things are imperative. I think taking a class and getting actually certified would help kind of alleviate any of those issues.”

For more information on drones and a class on them click here.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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