Drone show mishap sees flying machines drop out of the sky

A drone show in Perth, Australia, didn’t quite go according to plan after a number of flying machines fell from the sky and crashed into the water during the show.

Sunday night’s “City of Light” event took place in front of thousands of spectators, but as the show progressed, LED-laden drones could fall off the screen after a malfunction.

A video shared by 9News Perth showed some devices crashing towards the river for no apparent reason.

The highly anticipated City Of Light Christmas drone show didn’t quite go as planned last night…

Multiple drones began to malfunction and fell from the sky all the time, crashing into the Swan River below as the crowd watched. #9News pic.twitter.com/oThMMvUEYf

— 9News Perth (@9NewsPerth) November 21, 2022

Joshua Van Ross, general manager of Drone Sky Show, which organized the event, said 50 of the 500 drones on display experienced some kind of problem that caused them to crash into the river below. With each aircraft worth $2,000 Australian dollars (approximately $1,320), Drone Sky Show lost AUD$100,000 (approximately $66,000) in equipment by the time the showing ended.

“If there’s any wind disturbance, drones hit each other, that happens, propellers snap, there are things that go wrong,” Van Ross told local news outlet WA Today.

But he added: “Two to three drones [falling] per show is actually normal… last night was not normal. GPS interference is also being investigated as a possible cause of the drone’s failure.

Van Ross said the unexpected disaster made him “kinda cry … I try not to think about it … but it was an expensive show for us.”

Divers were sent into the river the next day in an attempt to fish out the drones, although water damage makes it unlikely they will be able to fly again.

The good news is that those who showed up to watch the aerial light show were never in danger, as the show took place over the water and at least 400 feet from the nearest spectators.

With the ever-evolving drone technology and increasingly complex software that can program countless quadcopters to fly in formation, light shows using the machines have become increasingly popular, in some cases taking the place of fireworks-based events.

It’s rare to hear of an accident on the scale of Sunday’s event in Perth, so it’ll be interesting to find out exactly what caused so many drones to fall from the sky in a single performance.

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