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Champion Skier Nearly Hit By Crashing Camera Drone During World Cup Slalom

By Hanssie on December 23rd 2015

And this is why we can’t have nice things…

In all seriousness though, had defending World Cup champion skier Marcel Hirscher been merely a second later, he would’ve been hit by a crashing drone getting footage of the event. The Austrian skier was on his second run at the World Cup slalom in Italy when a drone narrowly missed him by inches as it came crashing to the ground.


Image courtesy of BBC

Hirscher said of the incident, “This is horrible. This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury.” Shortly thereafter the international ski federation announced it was banning drones from their World Cup races. Men’s race director Markus Waldner stated that as long as he was responsible, drones would not be allowed “because they are a bad thing for safety…It was huge luck that Marcel was not hurt. I am very angry.

According to officials, the drone operator did not follow instructions to stay outside of the race track at a 50-foot distance. Infront, the company that made the drone said that it is investigating the circumstances leading to the crash and that “the incident was being taken very seriously.”

Hirscher told news agencies that he felt something behind him, but was unsure of what it was. He assumed it was a crew member, who smooths the snow after each skier. He later jokingly posted on his Instagram account that there was “heavy air traffic in Italy” today. Hirscher finished the race in second place, 1.25 seconds behind Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen.

Watch The Video: Drone Almost Hits Marcel Hirscher


Drones have been in the news quite often this year with near misses with commercial airliners, interfering with firefighters battling blazes, and the drone registry that began earlier this week. But the real question is in drone safety and operations. The registry won’t stop people from errantly flying drones with no real knowledge of how to use it or malfunctions of the product that could send it careening down to Earth with no warning. With an estimated 1 million drones being sold in the fourth quarter, what can be done to ensure the safety of those on the ground?

The blades of a drone are powerful and can do quite a bit of damage. One of our readers, planetMitch who runs the blog Planet5D sent a video last week showing the sheer power of a drone. In a slow motion video that plays off the Will It Blend? series for popular blender, Blendtec, the video shows fruits being decimated with the blades of a Phantom DJI.

Watch Drone Blender

If you are a drone owner or expect to get one for Christmas, make sure that you know how to safely operate one. Here are some articles that may help.






[Via Mirrorless RumorsBBC]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Taylor Osborn


    Good point. You have done some great articles for educating the masses. As a responsible UAV pilot I tend to be a bit sensitive over the dramatic stories that the mass media and the public focus on. I was just trying to educate as well from a pilots perspective. I think I’ll refrain from reading the comments on the negative stories moving forward. LOL.

    I come across great UAV footage all the time and will be sure to pass some along in the future. Elia Locardi’s review of the Inspire Pro over at Fstoppers comes to mind which I’m sure you’ve seen. Also Brainfarm released a new surf flick with pro Surfer John John Florence called “A View From a Blue Moon”. In the extras there is some beautiful Aerial footage but I’m not sure how you’d be able to post it. Happy holidays and keep them positive UAV stories a coming.

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    • Matthew Saville

      You may also pass along any news reports of drones saving puppies from floods, or stopping bad guys in a hostage situation. ;-)

      Thus far however, unfortunately *most* official news reports are either about new drone regulations, or drone accidents. Because that is a common thread in news media, period, not just photography. Shocking events make the news, and bad news is almost always more shocking than good news. But, don’t get me started on the media and its attention to negativity instead of positivity. Suffice it to say, it’s not just a photography problem, it’s a societal problem all around.

      Beautiful, inspirational footage and/or tutorials are also worth sharing, but can’t be categorized as news of course.

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  2. Matthew Saville

    Requiring both a license and special training to operate a drone is a very, very necessary thing. So are specific laws that lay down lines for privacy over private property, and so many other things.

    You can argue that it won’t solve 100% of the problems, or that it will trample people’s rights. But as other folks have pointed out, requiring drivers’ licenses is still a very necessary thing even though it doesn’t completely eliminate vehicle accidents. (Heck, if I had my way, every driver would be required to actually pass a professional driving course, instead of simply surviving a spin around the block with a hung over DMV tester…)

    I love the footage that drones capture. I don’t, however, look forward to a day in which they’re hovering all over the place, just waiting to disfigure someone’s face or put an eye out.

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    • Taylor Osborn

      So… honest question SLR Lounge party people, when are you guys going to post positive story on UAVs? There are plenty out there… Also how many people commenting have actually educated themselves on operations, protocols and are UAV pilots? The reason I ask that a lot of the comments are based on mass media hysterics. Events such as stated in this article are in the 1% of pilot operations. Tens of thousands of flight occur daily without incident where beautiful imagery is captured, privacy isn’t an issue and no “it’ll put your eye kid” events occur. With that said I dare you SLR Lounge writers to put up a positive article for every negative you post about UAVs. In the meantime I’m charging up my Inspire 1 batteries to fly over to Matthew Saville’s house. I’ll be sure post my findings in a bit… LOL

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    • Hanssie

      Hey Taylor,

      If you look back, I have written many stories of amazing videos captured by UAVs as well as many tip articles on how to fly them.

      In fact, if you do a search on our site, there’s a pretty good balance of both. I’m willing to even bet that the positive/helpful ones outnumber the negative news stories. Many of those just pass people by because human nature seems to be drawn to the negative, the dramatic and the sensationalist stories.

      Of course, if you come across great aerial videos, send them along. I’m always looking for good content to feature.

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  3. peter v quenter

    Education and upholding private rights *and* responsibility – no different than driving a car, walking across the street, getting into a plane, having a swim at the pool… – politician-bureaucrats jumping to the knee-jerk emotional reaction of ‘let’s ban it’ have little understanding of human economic action – if people want it, they will always figure a way to get it –
    Much more important and productive is to foster an environment of intelligence and understanding and the resulting I-have-the-responsibility-for-my-actions and the resulting society in which the vast majority of people *will* drive safely, *not* be careless about their fellow beings safety, *not* growing up in a climate of ‘the-gvmt-should-do-something’, and ‘*they*-should-do-something-to-keep-us-safe –
    of course, that would start with *adults* being and living as good examples to the kids from early on !

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  4. Mark Henry Dela Torre

    Maybe one of his opponents paid the operator to drop it on his head but missed.

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  5. David Wetty

    As a responsible UAS operator, these types of articles frustrate me as do some of the comments on them. This problem is not unique to drones, but everybody is treating it like this is the first time someone has almost been hit by something.

    I was almost hit by a 3000lb car in the parking lot yesterday… No article on that?

    I’m very much in favor of a licensure and education process, but I wanted to be fair and legal. Just remember, cameras in the late 1800s used to steal souls… At least according to the Native Americans.

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    • Hanssie

      We make people get licenses to operate cars…and daily there are reports of terrible accidents still. And nonetheless, we continue to see education come out on driving safety (in the form of not texting and driving, drinking and driving, etc) and the car has been around since the early 1900’s.

      Drones are so new and so hopefully, more and more drone owners will be responsible, learn how to properly operate their UAV’s and so these near misses will be few and far between and we will continue to highlight some of these stories in order to raise awareness for the people that aren’t as responsible with their equipment. :)

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    • David Wetty

      Despite licensure and education, in 2014, 32,000+ people died due to driving related faults (cite: NHTSA). I’d argue that cars are FAR more dangerous than drones. People don’t take up pitch forks over car accidents and the government doesn’t regulate cars more after each fatality.

      My point is, this idea that drone accidents are the next worst thing to hit the world stage is misguided, reckless and sensationalist. Accidents happen every day in all arenas of life (I fell down the stairs a minute ago, silly me). People need to accept this and stop blaming drones for bad stuff happening. Blame stupid operators, that’s fine; but stop blaming drones in general.

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    • robert raymer

      Last I checked, you did need to be licensed to operate a motor vehicle. Does that end all accidents? No, of course not. But it does require that everyone who legally operates a motor vehicle is at least aware of how to operate one and the rules and regulations governing their operation.Operate a vehicle without a license and face a hefty fine. Likewise, requiring licensure to operate a drone would not end accidents, but it would require that everyone who flies one at least knows how to fly it and when and where it is safe to do so (i.e., not where it is likely to interfere with commercial/restricted flight areas, etc).

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    • David Wetty

      Fully agree Raymer; I never said you don’t have to be licensed for a vehicle. But that reinforces my point, licensure doesn’t stop accidents. Education helps, but nothing fully prevents accidents. So why are drones under such heavy fire?

      Side note: the fines for not having a license while driving are an order of magnitude cheaper than flying without registration. Not sure why though.

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    • robert raymer

      While it does not prevent ALL accidents, licensure does likely prevent a great deal of accidents that would have been caused by the inability to properly operate a vehicle/drone and by requiring everyone to at least have learned the rules/regulations, preventing “accidents by ignorance” (flying a drone near an airport because you simply didn’t know/understand how dangerous it is, for example). Of course you can never tell exactly how effective this is since you can’t quantify accidents that don’t happen, only ones that do, but for perspective, Im not sure about you, but I would not feel nearly as safe as a passenger in a vehicle (of any type) where the operator was not licensed to operate it as I would in one where they were.

      As for differing fines for driving and flying, it has to do with scale (and insurance liability). While more people overall are killed on the road than while flying (by far), individual accidents tend to have more casualties when involving aircraft than vehicles, especially when considering commercial aircraft. So an individual causing a deadly air accident is likely to kill/injure far more people that one causing a motor vehicle accident, thus the higher fine for the greater individual incident liability.

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  6. robert raymer

    I know it is an unpopular opinion, but I think anyone operating more than a “toy” drone (think Air Hog toys, etc) should not only be required to register, but should be required to be licensed as an operator to ensure they know how to properly and safely operate their drone, and it should be punishable by fine if they are caught operating without one.

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    • Hanssie

      I tend to agree with you. I feel like it’s only a matter of time that one idiot accidentally crashes into a jetliner. Responsible people are few and far between and people who make dumb decisions are multiplying…

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    • Stephen Glass

      No doubt you are right!
      But there is something about the current state of drone anarchy that I enjoy.
      It’ll get licensed, it’ll get taxed, as soon as it becomes a significant revenue stream for governments. Until then, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF… DUCK!

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    • Jason Chambers

      You’re definitely right. I think we’ve seen enough incidents and near misses to say that these “toys” are now powerful enough and dangerous enough to cause real damage. I hate adding additional levels of government regulation to anything, but we’re dealing with things that in the worst of circumstances can cause personal injury and (heaven forbid) plane crashes so registration and licensure is a must at this point. We’re using drones to do a little more than buzz the family pet, fly around the backyard, and barely get above treetops so the law has to adapt.

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  7. Richard Olender

    “because they are a bad thing for safety”

    So is sliding down a hill on 2 pieces of wood at 70MPH

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  8. Stephen Glass

    Well call me the optimist but I think I see a new sport. What about Downhill Drone Dodging? Or Slalom Drone Drops. I just think this is like that Reese’s commercial where the peanut butter and chocolate eater collide to come up with a new favorite confection. I say go with it. Think of the footage you’d get up until the time of impact. This is just too good to ignore.

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  9. Colin Woods

    Its just a question of time before there is a really bad accident related to these things. In the blender video it mangled everything, and it was not even at flying rpm. I don’t know why he had to destroy the drone with the car though. Isn’t there already enough wastage going on?

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    • Hanssie

      I read in the comments of the YouTube that is was a busted drone and pieced together with spare parts so they rigged it at full throttle…why they had to run it over with a car though? I chalk that up to boys and their love to break things. Most importantly though, it was a waste of two delicious donuts, and that is unforgivable. ;)

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  10. Joseph Ford

    wow, with all the near misses. I think Drone licenses are soon in order.

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