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Photographer fined after drone “narrowly missed” Fatboy Slim

Giles Dalby lost control of his drone during the DJs Big Beach Boutique anniversary show in 2022

  • WORDS: BELLE RICHARDSON | PHOTO: ALTERNA2
  • 12 January 2024
Photographer fined after drone “narrowly missed” Fatboy Slim

Brighton Magistrates Court has issued a fine to a photographer who lost control of a drone during a Fatboy Slim show, hearing that the piece of aerial equipment “narrowly” missed hitting the legendary DJ on stage.

The incident occurred during Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Boutique anniversary show in 2022, during which the DJ had to dodge the drone on stage, reports Music Tech.

The drone, which belonged to amateur photographer Giles Dalby, was reportedly put into "sport mode" increasing the risk of danger posed to both Fatboy Slim and his crowd 8,500-strong crowd.

Dalby insisted during an appearance in court on January 4, that he had "meant no harm" with the manoeuvre and had hoped to capture a "slow cinematic" video of the show.

"I crashed trying to leave the area, looking to back out for an overview of the scene and finish with a wide view" Dalby told the court.

He continued by adding "There was no malicious intent. I switched it into sport mode which deactivates the downward sensor so I could come quickly up and out, but I accidentally went forward and down."

Prosecutor Megan Attree said, “At quarter to ten, the security were alerted that a drone had crashed into the stage, narrowly missing the crowd and the headline act."

In court, Attree revealed flight recording data, that showed the defendant ignoring “multiple warnings” as the drone flew out of control — concluding that, "despite the lack of damage or injury the risk posed was very real."

According to Brighton and Hove News, Dalby was found to be in breach of the Air Navigation Order 2016 and was subsequently charged with "recklessly or negligently allowing an aircraft to put a person or property at risk".

Multiple reports from drone-focused news outlets have since covered the story.

DroneDJ reported that "The maximum penalty under this law is an unlimited fine on summary conviction and up to 2 years of custody if the case goes to a higher court." Dalby was issued with several fines totalling £891.

Chair of the bench Raymond Brenton had this to say on the final decision: “After what we have heard today, together with your previous good character and an early guilty plea, we will deal with this by way of a fine.”

With the popularity of aerial photography on the rise, drones are increasingly being deployed at live music events. However, the use of drones does not come without risk.

In June of 2023, at EDC (Electronic Daisy Carnival) Las Vegas, attendee Jacquelyn Heywood, was injured by a drone which crashed into her face and neck during American DJ, GRiZ’s set.

Though reportedly Heywood was in good spirits following the attack, telling TikTok she was "doing just fine".

In contrast, actor Kai Ko was reportedly "disfigured" on the set of a Netflix show by a drone — reportedly needing 20-30 stitches in his face.

As usage increases, accidents involving drones are sparking conversations around drone safety and regulation.

[Via: Music Tech]

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