Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Statement from Infront Sports & Media regarding the drone accident in Madona di Campiglio

During the slalom race of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Madonna di Campiglio (Italy) in the evening of 22 December 2015, an unmanned drone DFC-COPTER XR1 carrying a broadcast camera crashed into the snow during the second run of Austrian ski racer Marcel Hirscher.
"We narrowly avoided a catastrophe", said FIS Race Director Markus Waldner. "We agreed with (broadcasters) that drones could not fly over the racecourse but only in a corridor next to the slope, but it flew more and more into the slope".
The drone had been used to provide aerial shots of the slalom race, and was part of the host broadcast operation of Infront Sports & Media. The drone and the drone pilot have been provided by a third party service to Infront Sports & Media.
Though laws prohibit such an act in Austria, Switzerland, and many other countries, drones are authorized to fly over a crowd during events in Italy.
The initial technical report indicates a malfunction of the drone. According to the drone operating company, the most likely reason is a strong and unforeseen interference on the operating frequency, leading to limited operability. Detecting this, the pilot followed the official security procedure, purposely flying the drone as close as possible to the ground before releasing it. The aim was to destroy the drone, in order to prevent it from losing control.
We very much regret that this happened and especially that it was in close proximity to an athlete in this case, Marcel Hirscher. We are extremely relieved that no one was hurt and apologise once again to Marcel Hirscher, as well as to the FIS, the Austrian and Italian Ski Federations and the Local Organising Committee.
Infront has decided to mandate an external independent expert with a formal investigation of the matter.
For the time being, FIS and Infront have decided to refrain from using drones for broadcast purposes until a fully secured operation can be ensured.
Broadcast partner Infront Sports and Media added: "Infront apologizes to Marcel Hirscher and to FIS for the unfortunate incident with the drone. Detailed technical analyses will be conducted and more information will be given as soon as possible".

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