A four-time World Cup skiing champion has narrowly avoided a life-threatening injury after nearly being struck by a falling camera drone.
The shocking incident occurred during a slalom event at the skiing World Cup in Italy on Tuesday night, during Marcel Hirscher’s run down the Alpine slope.
Despite being kitted out with a helmet organisers feared the result could have been tragic.
Men’s race director Markus Waldner, from the international ski federation, has spoken of his outrage at the drones operator.
He told the Associated Press:
He did not follow our instructions. He had to fly outside of the race track and follow the racer from a 15-metre distance. Then there would have been a margin, and nothing could have happened.”
Hirscher spoke of his relief at avoiding injury, although he admitted not being completely aware of what happened.
I didn’t know what it was, but I felt something, I thought it was a course worker behind me, or a gate.”
I am very relieved that nothing happened. You don’t want to think about what could have happened when 10 kilograms are coming down 20 metres. That would have been a very serious, bad injury. There are a lot of cool things nowadays. But you have to guarantee the safety — and that was just insane.”
Unsurprisingly drones are now banned from the remainder of the event.
Maybe they could employ some Japanese police to catch falling drones with their custom interceptor drones?