NYPD Chopper Nearly Downed —by 2 Guys With Drones

Pilots had to change course to avoid collision over George Washington Bridge
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2014 11:41 AM CDT
NYPD Chopper Nearly Downed —By 2 Guys With Drones
Stock image   (stevemart / Shutterstock.com )

An NYPD helicopter nearly collided with two drones over the George Washington Bridge yesterday, resulting in a matching pair of felony reckless-endangerment charges for two men. The chopper pilots said in a police report that they were patrolling just after midnight when they "observed flying object[s] at 2,000 feet in vicinity of the bridge," reports the New York Post. After swerving to avoid a collision, the pilots trailed the drones north and alerted NYPD officers, who found Remy Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34, near Fort Tyrone Park.

Castro and Mendoza, who paid between $500 and $700 each for their drones, dismissed the seriousness of their offense. "It's just a toy," Castro said in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday afternoon. "The copter came to us." Mendoza, meanwhile, called the incident "crazy," and the men’s lawyer said that their drones can’t even go above 300 feet, adding, "They did nothing more than fly a kite." But a friend of the pair says they've bragged about flying at least at 5,000 feet and have been posting Instagram photos of their nightly flights. (More drones stories.)

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