The Tulsa police department posted this warning video on Facebook in an effort to deter hobbyist drone pilots from hindering and endangering first aid and rescue operations in the flooded areas around Tulsa, Oklahoma. Various media also reported on drones getting in the way of rescue efforts in the flooded regions. The message is clear: fly within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and please stay out of the way of rescue operations. And, always give way to manned aircraft.

Tulsa Police Department post warning video on Facebook

Rescue operations in Tulsa, Oklahoma are hindered by hobbyist drone pilots who are trying to capture the flooding with their unmanned aircraft. In an effort to keep the skies safe and educate people, the Tulsa police department posted this video on Facebook, warning drone pilots to stay clear of rescue operations.

Sgt. Richard Meulenberg said in the video that if you can’t see your drone anymore or if you are flying above 400 feet, you are flying outside of the FAA regulations. Meulenberg also urges all hobbyist drone pilots to visit the FAA website and read the regulations.

According to Tulsa Fire spokesman Andrew Little, 30 drones were flying illegally on Tuesday. Helicopter rescue operations cannot take place if drones are flying because there is a potential for a crash.

“So you’ve got a guy who is out here taking pictures for fun and then you have a group that’s out here trying to save lives,” Little said. “Which is more important?”

Tulsa police and fire departments are asking every hobbyist drone pilot to stay away from levees and the Arkansas River so first responders can get to them safely.

Because of the historic flooding that took place last Tuesday, all 77 counties in Oklahoma are under a state of emergency. At least six people have died as a result of the flooding, severe storms, tornadoes and straight-line winds that have hit Oklahoma.

Problems with DronesWe are having an issue with UAS operators and their aircrafts.There have been several reports of Unmanned Aircraft Systems operating outside of established FAA regulations. These "drones" are a major problem for our military and civilian aircraft trying working on this crisis. We have a much higher than normal rate of low flying helicopters delivering payloads or search and rescue. If a UAS is flying in the area they are at tremendous risk. If you're new to the hobby please ensure you follow the FAA regulations found onhttps://www.faa.gov/uas/If you're a 107 license holder and violating regulations, you know better. Thanks. Tulsa Fire Department#2019TulsaFlood

Posted by Tulsa Police Department on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

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