The first bull run in the United States had onlookers avoiding something unexpected: a drone. An unmanned aerial vehicle tumbled from the sky and crashed into a crowded stand of spectators on Saturday while shooting video of the event at the Virginia Motorsports Park. The Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office says that EMS on the scene treated and released five spectators, and that their injuries were superficial at most. "They were a little bit more upset that [the drone] knocked the beer out of their hand than about the injury," Major William Knott, of the sheriff's office, tells The Verge.
"It was a freak thing."
The drone was one of two flying overhead that day, attempting to gather bird's-eye footage of the participants, who were fleeing from upward of 24 bulls. The drone that stayed aloft belongs to ESPN, while the vehicle that fell was from a production company hired by the event's operator to record promotional footage of the run. "It was pilot error," Rob Dickens, COO of event organizer The Great Bull Run tells The Verge. The drone fell as a result of its battery dying mid-flight, an occurrence that Dickens doesn't think will be common, "It was a freak thing."
The Great Bull Run, which says it's organizing the first series of bull runs ever held in the United States, will continue to allow drone use at its events. "Drones get great footage," Dickens says. "People use them all the time. I don't think that this is any reason to stop using them." Capturing stunning aerial video footage using drones has become an increasingly common technique as the vehicles become more accessible. However, laws governing their use across the US are still scattered, which could leave spectators at big events keeping an eye overhead.