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Legionnaire held for Eiffel Tower drone flight

Joshua Melvin · 20 Feb 2014, 12:56

Published: 20 Feb 2014 12:56 GMT+01:00

A member of the French Foreign Legion is expected to go before a judge on Thursday after beingarrested for piloting a small drone around the famous Paris monument.

The 22-year-old Ecuadorian, on leave from the Foreign Legion, was rumbled by police at around 11pm on Tuesday, Europe 1 radio reported.

He had reportedly been flying the drone measuring half a metre by half a metre around the first floor of the tower when he was arrested on suspicion of "endangering the lives of others".

It’s the exact same charge that was levelled against a French high school student who landed in hot water after using his drone to make an aerial film of the historic sites in the eastern French city of Nancy.

“Nancy seen from the air” (Nancy vu du ciel) is the stunning short film put together by 18-year-old Nans Thomas quickly which racked up some 400,000 views after it was posted on the online video sharing site Vimeo.

But unfortunately for the teenager his success also caught the eye of French civil aviation authorities, who ordered an investigation, TF1 TV reported. It turns out the teenager violated two key provisions of the law according to Nancy’s top prosecutor Thomas Pison.

First, drone operators in a France have to complete a training course similar to the ones pilots must take. Then, a drone flight over an urban area requires specific written approval. Unfortunately for Thomas, he had neither.

Prosecutors didn’t think find the stunt very funny.

“If the aircraft crashed in a densely populated area, the consequences can be tragic,” prosecutors told Est Republican. “The use of drones also raises the question of respect of people’s privacy.”

No word on whether the Legionnaire could also face consequences from his commanders, who have a notorious reputation for stern discipline and stiff punishment. 

Here's the teen's stunning video of the stunning of Nancy seen from the air:

 

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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