Drone crashes into Seattle Great Wheel

SEATTLE - Police are still searching for the operator of the drone that crashed into Seattle's Great Wheel Wednesday evening.

Police received a call just before 5:00 p.m. that a drone had struck an arm of the wheel, then fell to the ground.

"It careened off one of the spokes of the wheel and crash landed on the upper deck of the Fisherman's Restaurant," said security guard Wayman Earls, III.

The drone smashed through a table on the deck and broke a few propeller blades.

"It crashed into the table, and broke the table. We have plastic all over," said Seattle Great Wheel manager Michael Fuqua.

Great Wheel operators briefly stopped the ferris wheel, unloaded passengers, then inspected the ride and did not find any damage.

"There were people on the wheel (at the time) and I would say 99% didn't have a clue what was going on," said Fuqua.

The deck where the drone landed was unoccupied at the time and no one was hurt.

Fuqua also says the area is supposed to be a no-fly zone.

The drone was confiscated by police and taken into evidence.

Officers do not know who the owner is, or if they will face any type of citation or fine.

A Seattle man is facing reckless endangerment charges for knocking a woman unconscious with a similar drone during the Pride Parade back in June.

In another case, a Dallas man wasn't charged for taking an unauthorized drone flight around the Space Needle.

The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to crack down on dangerous encounters like these.

Just last month, the agency proposed strict new rules for drone operators including registering with the FAA.

"Registration will help us enforce the rules against those who operate unsafely by allowing the FAA to identify the operators of unmanned aircraft," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx during the announcement last month.

The agency also says drones can't fly over people, fly higher that 400 feet and pilots must notify the FAA if flying within five miles of an air traffic control tower at any height.

The FAA is expected to require registration of recreational drones weighing nine ounces or more starting November 20th.
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