NYC Police Search for Owner of Drone that Crashed in Midtown

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Police are looking for the controller responsible for the unmanned drone that made a crash landing in midtown Manhattan, narrowly missing a businessman.

At around 6:20 p.m. Monday, the small helicopter came spiraling down from 20 to 30 stories above Grand Central Station on the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and East 41st St., police said.

Barely missing a businessman who wishes to remain unnamed, an investigation is underway into who was controlling the device. The man was able to recover the memory card from the remains of the unmanned device. No one was injured.  

“They made an active decision to fly something they don’t have control over obviously through the most crowded city, most crowded time of day and I can’t believe there’s no law against this,” the businessman told WABC.

The drone has been identified as the Phantom Quadcopter with a ticket price just under $500. “Choosing their own personal enjoyment over any of the consequences,” the operator of the drone “could have put people in danger,” the businessman said.

Losing control of the aircraft multiple times while in flight, the inexperienced operator is clearly identifiable in the footage recorded by a camera attached to the body of the drone. Weighing three pounds, the drone is considered by the FAA to be an “unmanned aircraft system.”

“We currently do not allow operations in congested areas like Manhattan and do not allow careless and reckless operations anywhere,” said FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown in a statement.

Lasting about three minutes in flight, the drone’s camera documented many of New York City’s iconic buildings: The Chrysler, MetLife and Grand Central, slamming into a few skyscrapers along the way. Hovering 300-to-400 feet above Midtown, the drone’s final crash into a corner of a building sent it on its last descent.

The police will determine whether reckless endangerment was involved, according to NYPD Sgt. Michael Ryan.

FAA inspectors are scheduled to look into this case upon return from furlough.

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