Bald eagle attacks Michigan government drone and sends it into lake

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(Getty Images)

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) – A bald eagle launched an aerial assault on a drone operated by the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy – known as EGLE – pulling off a propeller and sending the plane into Lake Michigan.

The attack occurred on July 21, when the drone was mapping shoreline erosion near Escanaba in Michigan’s upper peninsula to document and help communities cope with the high water levels, the department said. in a press release.

Environmental quality analyst and drone pilot Hunter King said he completed about seven minutes of the mapping flight when satellite reception became spotty.

King pressed a button to return the $ 950 drone to him and was watching his video screen when the drone began to hover.

“It was like a really bad roller coaster ride,” said King, who looked up and saw the eagle fly away, apparently unscathed from his confrontation with the technology.

Two bird watchers who were nearby saw the bird attacking something, but told authorities they were unaware it was a drone.

The drone sent 27 warning notifications within the 3.5 seconds it took to reach the spiraling water, including one noting that a propeller was missing. A shore search could not find the drone. Data later revealed it had landed in 4 feet of water about 150 feet offshore.

EGLE’s drone team is considering what they can do to reduce the possibility of a repeat attack, including possibly using “skins” or other designs on the plane to make them look less like seagulls, the agency said.


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