Sunday, January 07, 2018

Man who flew drone during Wanaka fire named

Jorge Eduardo Riquelme Cruz, of Chile, appears in the Queenstown District Court this afternoon. 

A Chilean man who allegedly flew a drone near helicopters fighting a huge fire near Wanaka last week has been named.

Jorge Eduardo Riquelme Cruz, 34, appeared before Judge Mark Callaghan in the Queenstown District Court this afternoon.

He was arrested on Wednesday last week after allegedly operating a Mavic drone near eight choppers fighting the out-of-control blaze on Mt Alpha.

Police say the actions of the drone pilot forced the aircraft to be grounded for 15 minutes.

Riquelme Cruz was charged with operating an unmanned drone in a manner causing unnecessary danger to firefighting pilots and their helicopters, and reckless disregard for the safety of firefighting helicopters likely to cause danger to the pilots and aircraft.

A request by duty lawyer Louise Denton for a sentence indication was turned down by Judge Callaghan.

He was remanded on bail without plea until January 29.

Original article can be found here ➤

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