Drone Nearly Hits World Cup Skier

Drone Nearly Hits World Cup Skier

At the World Cup in Italy last night, a camera drone crashed just behind skier Marcel Hirscher during a slalom. Race director Markus Waldner told The Associated Press that drones will be prohibited “as long as I am responsible …. because they are a bad thing for safety.”

The unmanned flying object carrying a TV camera came down and shattered on the icy slope just behind Hirscher during Tuesday night’s race in Madonna di Campiglio. The four-time overall champion was unhurt and continued his run, finishing second behind Norwegian winner Henrik Kristoffersen.

“It was huge luck that Marcel was not hurt,” Waldner said. “I am very angry.”

The company responsible for the camera drone, sports-marketing agency Infront, said in a statement that “the circumstances leading to [the crash] are currently being examined.”

As for Hirsher, he later tweeted about the incident with the hashtag #luckyme.

Updated: December 23, 2015 — 9:36 AM


  1. Skier Marcel Hirscher said…

    …“This is horrible. This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury,”…
    Did Hirscher mean drones, or skiing?
    I mean, after all, slalom skiers can go in excess of 80 MPH and can slam into another skier, spectator, or worse case, a non-moveable object. Oh the agony of defeat! Talk about an accident looking to happen.
    Yes he must be talking about skiing. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people have been killed in both sport skiing and pleasure skiing. Here is an tragic example I’m sure you will remember, do you remember Mayor Sonny Bono?
    So, let’s tally up the fatalities here…….
    Death by Skiing ……………………… 1000 plus.
    Death by Drones ……………………….. 0

    Simple math proves Hirscher is right ………….. …”This can never happen again.” …
    We must stop skiing before another soul perishes.

  2. I disagree with you, Alicia. The skiers know the risks of their sport and accept that. They minimize those risks with safety equipment and intense amounts of practice. What they don’t accept is the risk of a malfunctioning camera drone falling on them during a race.

    1. I am relieved that the skier was not hurt when the drone dropped from the sky. But, this is a golden opportunity for the AMA to present to the FAA why our safety protocols are effective. This sort of accident has been anticipated by the AMA which is why flying over people, behind the flight line, and closer than a specified distance in front of the safety barriers is forbidden. It appears that the FAA does not value the knowledge and experience AMA staff have which could help draft regulations where everyone wins. So far this does not appear to be the case.

      I suspect that the drone crash was caused by operator error. He may not have known that batteries are compromised by low temperatures and may have run out of power unexpectedly.

      Let us hope all can learn from this and not overreact.

    2. So Paul, let me see if I understand where you are coming from.
      If you are a skier, you know the risk that there is the possibility of death in your “sport”. Death not only to yourself, but to whomever you may kill in the process like judges, spectators, the press, etc. And, somehow that’s magically alright because you “practice” and have “safety gear”?
      An accident is something you don’t expect to happen and you can’t foresee and prepare for every possibility. The only sure way to be safe is to live in a bubble in your parents basement. Are you aware that real helicopters have crashed into ski slopes? How does one prepare for that? Did that stop sports from happening because of it? “Nearly hit” is the equivalent of “Almost”. It only counts in horseshoes. Hirscher had on a high tech helmet and padded suit. If he couldn’t have walked away from that even if he had happened to have been hit, he’s not the athlete he thinks he is. I doubt that he was as worried about getting hit as he was about winning. Getting hit would have cost him his standings. Only in reflection was he “all indignant”. Give me a break!
      Let’s agree to disagree on this one.
      Welcome to the future people………..

  3. I know all about crashing a drone since I’ve done it many times. But I’ve never crashed a drone with GPS auto stability/altitude, hands free with a separate pilot and videographer. So either a battery failure, motor failure (this one looked like a quad), loose wire, ESC failure, controller failure or GPS lock was lost and the pilot got confused flying in manual mode. Oops!

  4. Here we go ,now we are going to need two numbers on our AIRPLANES because of these things

  5. Points taken and well presented Alicia. The camera drone was present with the full knowledge of the event coordinators, so let’s not whip up the dangerous drone hysteria…what happened is in no way related to irresponsible newbie drone owners that occasionally operate them unsafely or irresponsibly, ignorant of safe practices. Experienced, educated, safe AMA model hobbyists would no better. Again this was a professional operator, there with the consent of the event, that made a dangerous error

  6. This is part of the reason the FAA is going crazy with their rules on normal flyers and AMA clubs.

  7. I am beginning to think a lot of these reports of near misses are being caused by commercial operations and not as many from the hobby side . I think that as a hobby we have conducted ourselves well with an impeccable safety record. But with many commercial operations trying to use drones to make money they will be cutting corners and flying unsafely for the bottom line. As a hobbyist if I have any doubts about my equipment I don’t fly!!
    But I think the same does not hold true of a money making operation. Some time ago we had a drone operator flying his craft in Seattle during a public event. His drone hit the side of a building and struck a woman. While she was relatively unhurt, and he thankfully turned himself in. As a hobbyist I wouldn’t be flying in a crowded area , where the risk to people even small would be present. Like I would not be flying a big gas model in a public park where people and children would be. I even saw a you tube video where some flyer was flying his multi rotor in town around buildings and was surprised when the police showed up and told him to land and cited him for it. I have been an avid modeler, both building and flying for nearly 40 years. Recently getting in multi rotors as well in the last 2 years. I like to build my own aircraft because I get to learn all the aspects of my aircraft even their limitations. Recently we have had to content with the FAA registration and even though I am a member of the AMA , I chose to register because the AMA rules and what the FAA required was not a conflict with each other. The only issue was the FPV area. I fly FPV but use a monitor as well as goggles. But the FAA requirement to fly LOS did not conflict with the AMA. Plus they did not mention not being able to use a monitor. Since I would still keep it within LOS.
    But I feel that these drone operators in commercial operations should really reconsider using multi rotors until the technology was alot better to use it as such.

  8. All you ‘bleeding hearts’ sticking up for the ‘poor’ drones! Someone came up with a get rich quick scheme, called UAV’S(Drones)and all you fools bought into it! They are nothing more than an eyesore, and abomination, nothing to do with Model Aviation. You so called pilots are breaking all decency and personal airspace for your own enjoyment, regardless who you annoy or endanger! Modelers use clubs, club fields, rules, everything to keep from becoming an eyesore to the non modeling public. We maintain liability insurance in case the worst happens, what do you do? I can hardly wait, along with ISIS, for this ‘blight’ to disappear. The best video I have seen recently was a group of Sportsman shooting drones instead of clay pidgeons! Love it! Love it! Love it!

    1. Bruce,
      I agree with your sentiment if not your wording. The difference between multi blade aircraft and model airplanes lies in the responsibility of the flyer of the craft. Most model airplane flyers, not counting short lived toy models, are
      AMA members and understand the risks involved in flying model aircraft. Due mostly to AMA and model industry efforts along with local clubs safety is taught to new flyers from day one. Beginning quad flyers buy from mail order or local bulk retailers who neither know or care about safety. Kids from 12 to 16 buy and fly these things with varying degrees of success. Like all of us if they learn, as many do, they want a bigger and faster model. Those that can afford them get them. What they don’t get is safety training. We recently had a “Draggin Main St” event in our town. There were 500 plus hot rods and show cars driving up and down Main St. along with several thousand spectators lining the streets. There was also some goofus flying a large quad copter up and down Main Street at 50 to 250 ft altitude for a couple of hours. Talk about an accident waiting to happen!
      I hate to see anyone’s freedom affected but the multicopters need to be controlled. Model airplanes have an enviable safety record and are largely self policing. They should not be grouped in with multicopters.
      One mans opinion.
      James Fuller

    2. So, you “Love” people that irresponsibly use weapons to destroy other peoples private property? And, you think they are “Sportsmen” for doing so?
      Just out of curiosity, do you own the “Personal Air Space” or, have you just appointed yourself the “Holier than thou” guardian of it? Well well well, aren’t WE special…….

  9. When I go to fly my model aircraft or model helicopters it’s either at a model aircraft flying field or at one of the local dry lakes.
    I have quadcopters so I have something to “play” with in my backyard. They might get away from me but the only person that would be hit is ME. I don’t even fly them above the roof line of my house. And none of them have cameras on them.
    Flying them above crowds is simply asinine.

  10. shooting a drone down is better than using a clay pigeon.

  11. Alicia,
    After reading your response to Paul’s comment, it’s obvious you are from another planet. In your own words, “The only sure way to be safe is to live in a bubble in your parents basement.” Really? If you think you can’t get injured living in the basement of your parents home, consider all the possibilities that could cause an injury, or to the extreme, death. Hypothetically, the bubble would need to be supplied with oxygen. The machine that produces the oxygen could short out, and cause a fire. So living in your parents basement isn’t going to make you any safer than staying in a motel room.
    Paul is absolutely right. Any “professional athlete” knows the risk of his/her sport, and accepts them. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t compete. Plus, the spectators also know the risk of being at the bottom of the run, and accept the risk that a skier might lose control and smash into them, possibly killing someone with a ski pole.
    The daily risks we all face, begin the moment we awake in the morning. We accept them, or we don’t get out of bed. And if you happen to smoke in bed, you are only doubling your chances of injury, or death.

    1. Well Mr. Murphy, Let me help you here since it is “obvious” you missed that class in high school where they should have told you that interplanetary human travel hasn’t happened yet. So Captain Obvious let me help you with assertation.
      You are right, just as any “professional athlete” knows the risks, Bubble Boy’s parents should know that the basement isn’t 100% perfect. However, If Mr Hirscher had been in his parents basement that day, would he been “Almost hit”? Let me help you with that answer… no.
      Where would you liked to have been on 9/11, in the Twin Towers, or your parents basement? On Japan Air Lines flight 123, or your parents basement? On the Titanic, or your parents basement? This list could go on and on, but I hope you get the drift.
      Needless to say Mr. Murphy, unless you are a total ____________ (fill in the blank people), I would like to think you would choose the basement option. If not, well let’s just say, Darwin has predicted your fate.
      You’re welcome.

  12. Well, the PC police on here only allow comments that support the FPV and Drone industry, even though that is what is now causing everyone to ”register” with the FAA… Bet they don’t let this one get posted either.

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