Amateur hour in the skies above
A Montreal journalist got a scary reminder that the skies above are a free-for-all for amateur flight enthusiasts.
Yves Boisvert was walking along St. Laurent Blvd. on Tuesday when a drone crashed next to him.
"I was surprised! I didn't know what it was. A UFO coming down from the sky!" said Boisvert.
He picked up the thousand-dollar drone but found nothing indicating who it belonged to.
Boisvert is now going to hand it over to Transport Canada to find out who owns the device, and who was flying it in Old Montreal.
Experts said the lack of regulations regarding drones is proving dangerous.
"Already in Quebec last year some people lost an eye, had lacerations on the fingers, some people got hit in the face, on the head," said Jean Laroche.
He trains professional drone flyers, who need to have an operating certificate before launching devices into the sky. Without certification, commercial operators can be fined up to $25,000.
The devices are notoriously buggy, prone to interference from radio waves, and can suddenly fail in cold temperatures.
"Just around Montreal in the St. Lawrence river, there's about half a million dollars worth of sunk drones," said Laroche.
For amateurs, anything goes.
Manufacturers recommend drones be flown in open spaces away from power lines and airports, but those are just recommendations.
The federal government is aware of the problem.
"It's an exploding field," said Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
He is planning to change the lack of regulations in the next few months, and is currently drafting legislation.
"There are things like how old you have to be. In some cases you have to write an exam, you have to demonstrate that you know what's involved. There will be markings on the drone so we can identify them," said Garneau.
Until then, people should act with caution.
"People should remember that they're always liable for property damage they do with their drones or injuries that could occur with people underneath," said Laroche.