Falcon UAV, a Colorado company that builds drones, was ordered to stop helping the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) last Saturday.
The drones were helping authorities map deadly flood areas near Boulder, Colo. There have been eight confirmed deaths from the floods so far, noted Fox News.
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However, FEMA grounded the drones even though they had permits from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), noted the tech news site IEEESpectrum.com.
The drones were being used because normal aircraft could not fly in the bad weather, which grounded helicopters on Sunday.
Falcon UAV's drones can stay airborne for one hour and use GPS and cameras to generate maps from 300 to 1,500 feet.
FEMA banned the unauthorized drone flights and threatened anyone flying a drone with arrest.
“We are very disappointed in FEMA’s response to actively prevent the use of UAVs and drone technology when these services were offered for free and at a time when manned helicopters could be used for more critical missions such as evacuations and high mountain search and rescues in inaccessible communities,” Falcon UAV wrote on its website.