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Thursday, Oct 02, 2014
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Amazon employee’s drone buzzes Seattle’s Space Needle


Published:   |   Updated: July 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM

A small drone that buzzed Seattle’s Space Needle observation deck was tracked by authorities to an Amazon employee at a nearby hotel, police said.

Security with the landmark called police about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after witnesses said the white, quad-propeller craft with a camera may have crashed into the observation deck window, Seattle police said.

Witnesses told police they saw the drone glide to a hotel two blocks east of the Space Needle, where it landed inside a fifth-floor room. Officers went to the room and talked to the hotel guest, who said he was an Amazon employee from out of state who recently bought the drone at a hobby shop.

Amazon asked the Federal Aviation Administration to allow the company to test drone-based package delivery in Seattle this month.

The man in the hotel room told police he flew the drone past the Space Needle but did not strike anything.

He then showed officers video recorded by the drone’s camera as it hovered over the Space Needle as tourists waved from the observation deck. Nothing on the video indicated the drone had hit the Needle, and authorities later said they found no damage to the top of the landmark.

“Officers then gave the man a crash course on some of Seattle’s recent drone-related controversies, and he agreed not to fly his drone in public while in town,” according to a blog post on the Seattle Police Department website.

In June, Seattle police investigated a report of a drone peeping into a woman’s downtown apartment window. The woman said she saw the drone and was worried it was looking into her home, police said.

An apartment employee found two men piloting the drone outside. The men left before officers arrived, police said.

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