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China: Around The Nation

Man arrested after drone crashes on Chinese high-speed rail line

Farmer arrested on suspicion of putting lives at risk after home-made aircraft forces 300km/h train to make emergency stop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 September, 2017, 2:33pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 September, 2017, 3:51pm

A man has been detained by police in northern China after a drone crashed on a railway line forcing a high-speed train to make an emergency stop, the Beijing Morning News reported on Sunday.

Beijing railway police said the incident in Luan county, Hebei province, had posed a serious threat to the safety of passengers on board the train.

The authorities did not say how close the radio-controlled plane had been to the train. It was also unclear when the incident happened.

The suspect was a farmer from a nearby village in Qinglong mountain, according to the report.

The man, who was not named, built the aircraft at home and took it out for a test flight near the high-speed rail line where trains reach speeds of 300km/h and pass under high-voltage power lines, the report said.

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He reportedly lost control of the aircraft, sending it crashing into the line.

The crash set off an alarm in the railway security system and caused an incoming train to come to an abrupt halt. The train, which was travelling from Shenyang in Liaoning province to Taiyuan in Shanxi, was delayed for more than 20 minutes.

Police said the man was in custody.

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Under Chinese law the suspect can be charged with threatening public safety – a crime punishable by several years in prison.

Strictly speaking a radio-controlled plane differs from a drone because it lacks an autonomous flying capability and the capacity to prevent dangerous manoeuvres.