Cloudy with a Chance of Drones: Phantom Quadcopter Falls from Sky Crashes in Manhattan

NEW YORK (WABC) — A small helicopter drone flying high above buildings on the East side of Manhattan crash landed just feet away from a businessman during the Monday evening rush hour.

The drone is small but the FAA says it should not have been flying hundreds of feet above a crowded Manhattan sidewalk.

The businessman who almost took a direct hit from the unmanned device, recovered its video card from the debris and then reached out to us.

The video from the crashed drone shows it taking off from a high-rise terrace in Midtown Manhattan on Monday. It’s evening rush hour and below thousands of New Yorkers are heading home, unaware that 20 to 30 stories above them, a small, 3-pound radio-controlled helicopter with a camera is flying overhead.

“Choosing their own personal enjoyment over any of the consequences,” a businessman, who asked not to be identified, told us.

We’ve learned the drone is called the Phantom Quadcopter because of its four plastic rotor blades. It can be bought on the internet for under $500 dollars. Although small, the FAA considers it an “unmanned aircraft system.”

A spokeswoman tells us, “We do not currently permit the operation of unmanned aircraft over congested areas like Manhattan.”

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