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San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge “hotbed of drone crashes and illegal flights” – new report

As more and more people purchase drones, so growing numbers photograph the famous San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. However, most of these flights are illegal, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 2014, the National Park Service made it unlawful to take off or land a drone inside city parks to protect people and wildlife, unless a special permit has been obtained. This includes the 82,027-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which surrounds the Golden Gate Bridge. Even large signs saying ‘unmanned aircraft/drones prohibited’ installed around the bridge have not deterred flyers.

The newspaper reports that since late 2014, five drones have crashed on the bridge’s roadway. The two most recent crashes occurred in 2018, according to the ‘Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’, which manages the landmark. A sixth drone crashed into one of the towers underneath the roadway. Denis Mulligan, CEO of the ‘Transportation District’, was quoted as saying: “By the grace of God, it hasn’t hit a car, bicyclist or pedestrian:”

The newspaper continues:

“Mulligan described one of the crashes based on video footage from security cameras. It showed two young women standing on the Marin County side of the bridge. They fly a drone towards the south tower. The vehicle, however, loses its connection to the remote controller and falls from the sky into the northbound traffic lane.

“Enforcement of the rules against unmanned vehicles in the ‘Golden Gate National Recreation Area’ is handled by the park rangers who issue citations and even seize drones according to Nationals Parks spokesman Charles Strickfaden. He said, “We document about 20 reports per year, and suspect that unreported illegal use is much higher than this. In these cases U.S. Park Rangers and U.S. Park Police actively respond to visitor reports, and attempt to contact the operator. Officers contacted website owners that they can be prosecuted for illegal drone activity and associated commercial filming without a permit.”

Taking off or landing your drone in city parks is not allowed either. The ‘San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’ has issued 26 citations since July 2015, with individual fines as high as USD192. Even though many of the Golden Gate Bridge aerial photos have been taken illegally, social media outlets like YouTube and Instagram are doing little or nothing to stop people from posting them.

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