A low-flying drone came within feet of striking Jersey Shore high school football players earlier this week.
Ocean City High School was hosting Middle Township for a scrimmage Sunday night when players began to notice something overhead.
”All of a sudden everyone starts saying, ‘look,’” said an Ocean City quarterback Andrew Donoghue.
It was a remote control drone hovering overhead.
“As we were in our huddle it started to come over top of us,” Donoghue said.
“There were times when it was very low – no more than 10 feet above the players,” said Ocean City Red Raiders coach Kevin Smith.
“He’s just teasing them now,” a person can be heard saying in video of the incident.
Fearing for players safety and unsure what to do, referees put the scrimmage on hold for about 20 minutes.
The drone was an annoyance but was it illegally used? The Federal Aviation Administration strongly encourages recreational drone users to not fly near people or within five miles of an airport – Ocean City Municipal Airport is near the field.
Someone called 911 to report the drone but by the time officers arrived the drone – and its operator – were gone. Even if officers had nabbed the drone enthusiast, they wouldn’t have been able to do much.
“These are only guidelines, we as law enforcement are waiting for the lawmakers to give us some enforcement powers to regulate the use of these drones,” said Ocean City Police Capt. Steve Ang.
If a drone actually injured a player or fan, then the drone user would have faced charges, said police.