Elaine Thompson / AP

Cops scold Amazon employee for flying drone near Space Needle

Tourists reported seeing flying object they mistakenly thought had crashed into Seattle landmark

An Amazon employee flew a drone around the top of the Space Needle, but did not cause any damage, Seattle police said Thursday.

After several tourists reported seeing a drone buzzing around the iconic structure and possibly crashing into an observation deck window, Space Needle security called Seattle area police Tuesday night, according to police reports.

Observers told police the drone was a white quad-propeller model equipped with a camera, and that it had flown to a hotel two blocks east of the Needle, where it landed inside a room on the fifth floor.

Police said the famous tourist attraction did not appear to be damaged.

They did, however, go over to the hotel, where they spoke with the man staying in the room pointed out by witnesses.

He told police he was an Amazon.com employee visiting Seattle from another state, and that he had recently bought the drone at a hobby shop, according to local news reports.

He showed the officers the video captured from the drone’s camera, which showed it hovering over the Space Needle as tourists waved, but the video did not indicate that it had crashed.

Police said the man agreed to refrain from flying his new drone in public for the rest of his stay.

Earlier in July, Seattle-based Internet giant Amazon asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to conduct flight tests of its drones, which it wants to use to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

The FAA allows hobbyists to fly drones, but commercial use is largely banned. Currently, Amazon can test its drones indoors, but it can’t test them in open outdoor space in the state of Washington.

Al Jazeera

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