Drone incidents on the rise


Cops responded to three drone incidents the same day an Air New Zealand jet was forced to complete a “go-around” at Queenstown Airport.

Local sergeant Steve Watt, prompted by Mountain Scene’s questions, confirms the trio of aviation trip-ups.

He says complaints are on the rise but having three in a day, like on Wednesday last week, is uncommon.

The first was at midday, when a concerned local contacted cops saying someone was flying a drone on the Frankton reserve area, off Lake Avenue - off the western end of the airport’s runway.

Watt says he got a telling-off as no flights were disrupted.

The second, at 4.30pm, prompted the go-around by the A320 aircraft, carrying 153 passengers.

Police are still investigating. Watt says they’ve got a couple of leads. The last incident was after the fact –
a bloke who flew his drone over Shotover Delta and contacted police after he read about the flight diversion, worried he’d get his wrists slapped.

Watt says the rise in complaints - because drones are cheaper and more people are using them - has prompted police and the Civil Aviation Authority to produce an information leaflet.

Lake Hayes Estate’s Alana Bowden called the police after a drone incident at the subdivision’s playground, on Hope Avenue, on August 10 - a week before the “go-around”.

Three witnesses confirm an Asian man, accompanied by a woman and young child, sent his drone into the air above the children’s play area.

Bowden: “It just felt really inappropriate. It didn’t feel like the right place to be flying a drone. If he was learning … what if it came down and hit one of the girls? They all looked scared.”