A brand-new DJI Mini 2 suffered the full force of a croc attack when a saltwater crocodile snapped at the drone mid-air, clearly unhappy about being filmed. The mangled drone was then discovered two weeks later, with the dramatic footage from its maiden flight having miraculously survived the assault.
The incident took place recently at Australia’s Crocodylus Park near Darwin. The ABC News crew was filming a documentary there to mark the 50th anniversary of the ban on hunting the ancient reptiles.
ABC cameraman Dane Hirst hadn’t been filming for long when he heard the dreaded sound of a crocodile snapping its jaws shut at breakneck speed. He recalls:
I set the drone up over a small lagoon at Crocodylus Park, and all the crocs were really skittish. But there was one crocodile in particular that was holding its ground and really eyeballing the drone.
So, I thought, great, I’ll use this fellow, he’s in a stationary spot. I can get some decent shots of him.
I lined the drone up and moved over the top of him, and as I was doing that I looked up towards the lagoon and saw a crocodile vertical out of the water and heard the great clamping noise of a crocodile’s jaws coming together.
Hirst understood the worst had happened when the drone was nowhere to be seen, and the controller showed a blank screen with no connection.
I thought, oh wow, that was a brand-new drone, and this is going to be a really hard one to explain to the boss.
However, as fate would have it, the drone showed up on the banks of the lagoon two weeks later, riddled with bite holes. And even though the aircraft was damaged beyond repair, its memory card had survived, allowing the team to furnish the incredible footage shared below.
The drone now hangs prominently in the ABC News crew room as a cautionary tale.
Video shows croc chomping on news crew’s drone
Now, crocodiles lunging at drones is nothing new. The animals just don’t like low-flying drones. In fact, they’d attack anything moving near the water’s surface. Leveraging this particular instinct of crocs, wildlife authorities have been known to use flying robots as bait to tackle rogue reptiles in the past.
But mixing drones and reptiles doesn’t always yield positive results. In a recent freak event, a group of tourists visiting Florida decided to use their drone to get a close-up of an alligator they had spotted in the Everglades. The animal snapped the drone out of the air and chomped on it, potentially poisoning itself with toxic lithium.
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