More people are now operating drones, so it is inevitable that there will be an increase in drone-related accidents. But thankfully, commercial drone operators are required to have insurance by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK. This means that accidents caused by professional drone operators will at least have cover from insurers to help deal with the aftermath.
Let’s take a look at five drone-related injuries that have made the news which illustrate why the CAA took this step.
Toddler loses an eye
Yes, unfortunately, accidents like this do happen. Aged just 16 months at the time, Oscar Webb, from Worcestershire, lost an eye after being struck by a drone flown by a family friend. The young boy had his eye sliced in half by one of the drone’s propellers after the operator lost control of the machine. Oscar needed emergency attention and consequently, had to undergo several operations before he can have a prosthetic eye fitted.
Speaking to BBC, Faye Mellington, consultant in oculoplastic and orbital surgery at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals said: “I have seen a lot of ocular injuries, but never in someone so young, and I’ve not seen one from a drone. That said, given their popularity and the common use, it’s inevitable that we’ll see a lot more.”
Woman suffers nose injury at TGI Fridays
Have you ever heard of a Christmas mistletoe drone?
American restaurant chain TGI Fridays introduced the idea of using Christmas mistletoe drones ahead of the 2014 festive period. It did not end well, especially for one customer.
The idea was to fly the remote-controlled helicopters over customers’ tables carrying a mistletoe as a romantic gesture. Romance soon turned into horror for photographer Georgine Benvenuto. One of the helicopter blades hit her in the face and cut off a part of her nose. She was forced to use napkins to staunch the blood.
Speaking to the Brooklyn Daily, the newspaper she works for as a photographer, she said: “It literally chipped off the tip of my nose. Thank god it didn’t go anywhere under my eye – that is my livelihood.”
Drone crashes through office window, delivering a blow to the head
Imagine being sat at your desk at work and all of a sudden a drone camera comes crashing through your office window and smacks you on the head. It may seem a bit extreme, but that is exactly what happened to interface designer David Perel. Peril, from Cape Town, South Africa, was struck by the rogue drone and somehow escaped with no injuries.
The video above shows the drone spiralling out of control outside his office block before crashing through the window. Despite his head colliding with the drone, it didn’t affect his quick thinking ability. Peril removed the memory card from the Go Pro camera which was attached to the drone and instantly uploaded the dramatic footage onto the internet for the world to see.
Drone hits a woman on the head
During a Gay Pride event in Seattle, a 25-year-old American woman was caught off guard and hit by a device after it crashed into a building and landed on the top of her head. The impact of the collision immediately knocked her unconscious but luckily her boyfriend caught her before she hit the floor. An off-duty firefighter was at the scene and helped with treatment before the woman went to the hospital. She went on to make a full recovery.
Speaking to the BBC, drone expert David Dunn said he believes the incident in Seattle illustrates a growing problem with drones. He said that drones posed a danger because their popularity had outstripped both the regulation and education on how to use them safely.
Freak injury for Enrique
Drone cameras are even making their mark on celebrities in our final example of drone accidents. Singer Enrique Iglesias fractured his hand whilst performing in Mexico last year after he was slashed by the blades of a drone that he had reached out to grab. It was a part of the act that the 40-year-old was meant to handle the drone and look straight down the camera. However, Enrique misjudged the flight and his hand paid the price.
With the cut deep and blood smothered all over his clothes, Enrique remained adamant that the show would continue. The singer continued for another 30 minutes, despite the advice from his handlers to end the concert prematurely.
A statement from his representatives read: “During the show a drone is used to get crowd shots and some nights Enrique grabs the drone to give the audience a point of view shot. Something went wrong and he had an accident. He was semi-treated by the crew on the side of the stage to try and stop the bleeding. He was advised to stop the show. He decided to go on and continued playing for 30 minutes while the bleeding continued throughout the show.”
Enrique went on to have reconstructive hand surgery to repair the injury.
The need for drone insurance
After reading those five accidents, having drone insurance seems a little bit more important now. Insure4Drones chief executive Colin Whitehead said: “We already recognise that it is a legal requirement for commercial drone pilots to have drone insurance. Considering the examples shown above, it makes perfect sense to have drone insurance.”
Insure4Drones offers three different types of policies, drone only, liability only and drone and liability. There are also optional extensions such as noise, worldwide cover and trespassers cost. But that is not all, Insure4Drones are now offering drone flight test insurance for just £25. Whether you’re a budding or a well established commercial drone pilot, look no further than Insure4Drones for your drone insurance.