FOREST PARK — A man died in Forest Park Saturday evening and another was injured after attempting to retrieve an unregistered quadcopter “drone” near electrical wires.
Forest Park Police say the incident was reported around 6:23 p.m. in the 800 block of Needle Drive. The victim, Ruff Fitzgerald Teasley, 37, was trying to knock down the drone when the pole he was using touched power lines, electrocuting him. Police tried to revive him until Forest Park Rescue arrived and transported him to a local hospital. Sources say the victim was never revived.
Teasley's brother, Calvin, 29, told police he had been trying to knock the drone out of a tree when Ruff came home from work. When Ruff tried to help, the pole touched the wires. According to the police report, Calvin Teasley told police the shock hit them both so hard, Ruff Teasley was thrown on top of the storm drain and Calvin landed right next to him.
Of the 34 drones in Clayton County registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, three are in Forest Park. A check of FAA registration records does not show a drone registered to either victim nor to the address where the accident happened.
According to the U.S. Airspace Map, the address of the incident falls within restricted airspace around Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Recreational drone users must register their drones with the FAA before flying and must follow all regulations, especially in areas near airports. The FAA offers a free phone app for Apple and Android called b4ufly that gives drone pilots real-time information about where it’s safe to fly.
Basic FAA rules for recreational operators include:
• Obtain a remote pilot certificate from the FAA or operate within the programming of a community-based organization such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).
• Register with the FAA at https://faadronezone.faa.gov/.
• Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an observer to assist if needed.
• Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times.
• Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property.
• Contact the airport and control tower before flying within five miles of an airport or heliport. (Read about best practices here)
• Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility.
• Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS.
• Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.
• Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.
• It is illegal to fly a drone within five miles of an airport without first calling the airport operator and control tower.
To learn more about drone safety, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/
Check where it’s safe to fly using the U.S. Airspace Map at http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/air-space-map/