A bald eagle ripped off a drone’s propellers and sent the flying vehicle crashing into Lake Michigan, a state agency announced Thursday.
According to a release Thursday from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the Upper Peninsula bald eagle attacked the drone July 21 while a pilot with the agency was mapping shoreline erosion near Escanaba. The project was part of the agency’s documentation for communities about dealing with high water levels, per the Associated Press. (RELATED: The COVID-19 Threat To America’s Wildlife)
Bald eagle wins duel with state’s $950 drone, sending it to the bottom of Lake Michigan
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 13, 2020
Environmental quality analyst and drone pilot Hunter King said he had managed to take seven minutes of footage of the area when suddenly the satellite reception became spotty. He pushed for the drone to return home to him when the drone began to twirl furiously. (RELATED: Injured National Bird Snarls Traffic In National Capital)
“It was like a really bad roller coaster ride,” King said. The pilot of the $950 drone said he did see the eagle fly away, apparently unhurt by its confrontation with the flying machine.
Two nearby bird watchers confirmed they also saw the eagle attack something, but said they were unaware that it was a drone.
According to the report:
The drone sent 27 warning notifications in the 3.5 seconds that it took to spiral to the water, including one noting that a propeller was missing. A search of the shoreline failed to find the drone. Data later revealed that it landed in 4 feet of water about 150 feet offshore.
Now the Michigan environmental department is looking into the idea of using some “skins” or other designs that will make the drones look less like seagulls, the outlet shared.