Drone crash in Sydney hotel injures guest

Farid FaridAAP
FILE: A man watches a 2014 demonstration of a DJI Technology Co Inspire 1 drone in Shenzhen, China.
Camera IconFILE: A man watches a 2014 demonstration of a DJI Technology Co Inspire 1 drone in Shenzhen, China. Credit: AP

A hotel guest in a fancy Darling Harbour hotel in Sydney sustained injuries from flying glass after a drone crashed into the room's window.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report said on Thursday the drone operator was contracted in January 2021 to shoot some aerial photos and videos for a client, but that quickly turned sour when the remote-controlled aircraft became unresponsive.

"The compass on the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) failed due to electromagnetic interference. This resulted in the aircraft becoming unresponsive to control inputs, leading to the collision with a building," the bureau said in its 19-page report.

The pilot reported that the Chinese-manufactured DJI Inspire 2's transmitter froze then went black and flew away from their sight.

The pilot made phone calls to the company's chief pilot to track its whereabouts.

They were told the magnesium aluminium drone, about 42.5cm in width, had collided with a hotel on Darling Drive about 330 metres from its take-off spot near Cockle Bay Wharf.

The impact of the aircraft shattered the window glass, sending smithereens inside the room, but didn't penetrate it.

Between 2017 and 2020, there were 1165 occurrences involving drones reported to the bureau, with 42 accidents recorded from the same manufacturer.

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