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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Will Not Pursue Charges Against Man Whose Errant Drone Landed at White House

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Federal Aviation Administration Reviewing the Incident

           WASHINGTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that it will not pursue criminal charges against the man who lost control of a drone that landed on the grounds of the White House early Jan. 26, 2015.

           The decision was made following an investigation by the United States Secret Service and a review of applicable law. The Federal Aviation Administration has begun a review of the incident for possible administrative action.

           The investigation determined that the man had borrowed the quadcopter drone from a friend and had it at his apartment in downtown Washington, D.C. According to an interview with the man, he flew it around his apartment and outside his window late Jan. 25 and early Jan. 26, 2015. Around 3 a.m., the drone was outside over 10th Street when he saw it ascend to an altitude of about 100 feet and head in a westerly direction.  He tried to regain control over it, but to no avail.  He called his friend, who was unable to advise him how to gain control over the drone.

           The man knew that the drone’s battery was nearing the end of its charge and expected that it would crash somewhere over the Mall.  He went to sleep not knowing where the drone had gone.  After he awoke to news reports of the crash on the White House grounds, he self-reported the incident to the Secret Service.

            A forensic analysis of the drone determined that it was not operating under the direction of its controller when it crashed at the White House.

Updated March 18, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-055