Drone crash interrupts US Open tennis match
Man charged with reckless endangerment as private drone crashes into empty stands
A New York teacher has been arrested following the disruption of a tennis match at the weekend’s US Open, caused by a drone crashing into empty seats.
Authorities said that there were no injuries, however the teacher was charged with operating a drone in a public park outside of an authorised area, as well as reckless endangerment. The match in question was between Romanian Monica Niculescu and Flavia Pennetta, from Italy.
According to the BBC, the 33-year-old Pennetta heard the drone buzzing above, but did not realise where the noise was coming from.
"With everything going on in the world... I thought, 'OK, it's over.' That's how things happen,” she told the Associated Press.
She added that her fears were allayed when umpires told her that it was just a private drone flying by. The device reportedly shattered when it crash-landed on the empty stands, causing the interruption to the game as officials went to investigate.
However, Pennetta said that, if the stands had been full – as they were earlier in the day – someone could have been injured.
The US Open struggled with a similar incident last year – again with Pennetta on-court. That incident saw a drone interrupt a match between Pennetta and Serena William in the quarter-finals. A man was later arrested for piloting a drone outside the grounds.
Pennetta may not have won last year’s semi-final against Williams, but following this year’s disturbance, she went on to win against Romanian Niculescu.