World Cup Skier Nearly Taken Out —by Drone

Austrian Marcel Hirscher: 'This can never happen again'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2015 10:07 AM CST

A four-time defending ski champ competing in the World Cup finals in Italy nearly saw his attempt derailed when a camera drone crashed on the slope perilously close to where he was skiing, the BBC reports. Austria's Marcel Hirscher was doing his second run in a slalom race in Madonna Di Campiglio when the drone—often used to film ski competitions because of the desirable overhead angles it's able to capture—slammed into the mountainside directly behind him. The sports marketing agency responsible for the drone had been given permission to use it during the race, but the pilot wasn't supposed to fly it directly over the course, Markus Waldner, the men's race director for the International Ski Federation, tells the BBC.

Hirscher is relieved he escaped harm—he used a #luckyme hashtag on an Instagram pic he posted of the incident—but he's fuming at the close call. "This is horrible," he says, per the BBC. "This can never happen again. This can be a serious injury." The federation apparently agrees, as it announced that it's barring camera drones from World Cup races. "It was huge luck that Marcel was not hurt. I am very angry," Waldner tells the AP, via the BBC. Hirscher still came in second, only 1.25 seconds behind the Norwegian victor. (A drone crashed into the stands at the US Open in September.)

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