Man charged for flying drone near Wanaka fire

Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

A 33-year-old man has been charged with endangering a transport facility after a drone was flown in the area of the fire on Mt Roy in Wanaka this afternoon.

Eight helicopters battling the blaze were grounded for 15 minutes when the drone was spotted.

Police managed to locate the drone pilot nearby, seize the drone and arrest the man.

He is due to appear in the Queenstown District Court next Monday (January 8).

Wanaka Area Response Manager Senior Sergeant Allan Grindell says to fly a drone where helicopters are working is reckless and it’s a timely reminder for drone operators to think before they fly.

“Not only did the grounding of the helicopters cost money and valuable time in the efforts to extinguish the blaze, it put the safety and lives of the helicopter pilots at risk."

Photos/videos: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

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