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Seattle Police Investigate Drone That Buzzed Space Needle

Sightseers at Seattle's Space Needle saw a small drone buzz the landmark's observation deck — and the craft's owner got a police visit.
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Sightseers at Seattle's Space Needle witnessed a small quadrocopter buzz the landmark's observation deck Tuesday evening — and the craft's owner got a visit from the police. Visitors reported the drone floating outside the Needle, with some saying it had actually struck the window. It then floated down to a room on the fifth floor of a nearby hotel. The owner, as police found out when they knocked on his door, was an Amazon employee visiting from out of town. He showed the officers he had not hit the Needle by showing them footage from an on-craft camera. The Space Needle was undamaged.

Amazon did indeed recently petition the FAA to let it fly drones in its home city of Seattle — but this probably isn't what it had in mind. Other incidents in Seattle have led residents to be suspicious of drones, and while commercial use of them is federally prohibited, there is no law against hobbyists flying them. That said, flying over populated areas may mean a built-in parachute is a good idea.

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— Devin Coldewey, NBC News