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China: Around The Nation

Chinese man held after flying drone close to landing aircraft

Public security officials say aviation enthusiast’s filming near Hangzhou airport endangered public safety

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 12:31pm

A man in eastern China has been put in police custody for allegedly endangering public safety by using a drone to shoot video close to airliners taking off and landing at an airport.

A short video clip circulated online showing a passenger plane landing, with subtitles saying the footage was shot on Sunday with a drone.

The clip alerted pilots and aviation media who suspected the video was shot at close range because of the size and clarity of the pictures of the aircraft.

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Internet users compared the road, river and airport in the video with satellite images and identified that it was shot at Xiaoshan Aiport in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.

A reporter at the Beijing Youth Daily contacted the instant messaging device number left on the video and found it was registered to a 23-year-old man in Hangzhou.

The video caused a public outcry, with complaints that it was shot too close to the plane and calls for the police to investigate.

The Zhejiang public security department issued a statement on Monday saying the man, an amateur aviation enthusiast, had been taken into police custody.

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He had meant to shoot the sunset about 8.5km away from the airport and flew the drone at an altitude of 450 metres. He shot for 10 minutes, including footage of passenger planes passing by.

An unidentified official with the Zhejiang public security department’s airport division said the drone had clearly entered the airport clearance protection zone and affected flight safety.