Amazing or Irresponsible? West Palm Beach Man Flies Drone Into Fireworks (Video)

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A drone video taken inside the West Palm Beach fireworks show went viral on YouTube, but critics say the stunt was dangerous.

The stunning images were captured by YouTube user Jos Stingligh, who apparently flew the drone through the explosions. Bursts of color and trails of burning powder appear to happen just inches from the camera.

The epic video, set to an Andrea Bocelli aria, already has more than 1.5 million views.

But some users were unimpressed.

"Totally irresponsible. Flying over people is a big NONO," one YouTube user commented.

"What worries me is if these drones get cheaper and more pervasive, will we have a drones [SIC]interfering with all kinds of activities?" said another.

New York City's Fourth of July fireworks returned to the East River on Friday and a quadcopter was flying near the display and over onlookers.

Forbes contributor, Gregory McNeal, says it’s downright illegal.

“It should be obvious that flying a drone through a fireworks display is unsafe and illegal," he wrote. "Unfortunately stories like these demonstrate that what is clearly unsafe to most people, is somehow lost on a few careless operators.”

McNeal says local officials establish safety zones around fireworks displays and drones are no exception.

“This is the reason why you can’t get in your boat and zip up to the fireworks barge, the presence of persons and objects in the safety zone creates hazards,” he wrote. “Intrusion into those zones can result in an arrest, and a citation under a very general fire safety regulation.”

He added that many people have responded to his story “suggesting that there’s no law prohibiting this kind of operation.”

“I doubt those commenters have actually researched the law, as it’s pretty difficult to do,” McNeal wrote. “The reason laws on this are hard to find is that state laws generally delegate to local officials the authority to make safety zones around fireworks displays, thus one would need to find the general statute or regulation that delegates authority to the official responsible for the fireworks display.”

“That statute or regulation would then make the decisions of the local official binding as a matter of law,” he said.

Sources: New York Daily NewsForbes