Drones can be dangerous. They can cause serious injuries and even death.
A photographer was hit in the face by a mistletoe-carrying drone at a TGI Friday’s restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. It severed the tip of her nose.
“It literally chipped off a tip of my nose,” Georgine Benvenuto told Courier’s Life Brooklyn Daily (12.9.14).
“It took off part of my nose and cut me here, right under my chin.” The drone was part of the restaurant chain’s “Mobile Mistletoe” holiday promotion. To attract customers and publicity, two remote-controlled helicopters dangled sprigs of mistletoe while hovering around the restaurant. They flew over couples to prompt them to kiss, while recording the response of the patrons with an on-board camera.
According to the Courier’s Life Brooklyn Daily, drone operator David Quiones had encouraged the Courier’s reporter to let him land one of the two aircraft on her hand, but she allegedly flinched when the 10-inch drone touched down. The four-bladed flying machine then veered out of control and hit the face of Benvenuto, the Courier’s photographer. Quiones blamed the woman for her injury.
No injuries were reported at similar TJI Friday’s Mobile Mistletoe events in Long Island and Texas. The drone which hit the woman was the smaller of the two aircraft being flown in the restaurant. The other was a larger, 23-inch drone sporting six uncovered propellers.
Quiones was quoted as saying: “If people get hurt, they’re going to come regardless. People get hurt in airplanes, they still fly…There is a risk involved — anything flying, there is risk.”
For the restaurant chain, there is a serious risk of a lawsuit. Both aircraft models the drone operator flew were dangerous. Putting a flying drone in a busy dining room is not putting safety first.
In September 2013, a 19-year-old toy-helicopter enthusiast was killed in Brooklyn when his remote-control aircraft fell from the sky and its rotor blades slashed his head and throat.
The operator of a drone that loses control and accidentally injures another person could be charged with negligence and be named as a defendant in a lawsuit. Drone operators have a duty to others to operate their vehicle in a safe manner that does not present others a foreseeable risk of injury. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the drone’s manufacturer, as well as the event organizers could be named as defendants in a lawsuit too.
TGI Friday’s spokeswoman Frances Karkosak said that “customers and restaurant employees are not in any danger of similar accidents in the future,” reported the Courier’s Life Brooklyn Daily.