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Rogue drone sparks alarm at Elysée Palace

Ben McPartland · 20 Jan 2015, 12:36

Published: 20 Jan 2015 12:36 GMT+01:00

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During the night of Thursday into Friday, a drone was seen flying over the palace for a matter of seconds, prompting alarm among security teams, the palace confirmed on Tuesday.

“It was immediately spotted” by police and the Gendarmerie services who guard the palace.

Sources at the palace told BFM TV the flying object was “immediately removed” and an “investigation is underway”.

At a time of heightened vigilance after the Paris terror attacks the presence of the drone is being taken seriously by authorities.

According to a judicial source the Paris prosecutor has in fact opened an investigation into “the flying of an aircraft in breach of security rules”.

But French author and air safety expert Christophe Naudin told The Local he believes it was operated by someone hoping to get some exclusive photos, but terrorists may use drones in the future.

"There's no doubt this poses problems around security. One day drones will not just be used to take photos of François Hollande and his beautiful girlfriend Julie Gayet," Naudin said. "One day they will be used for something more dangerous".

"Currently drones are not developed enough to be able to carry something like a grenade or a bomb but in the years to come they will be. At the moment terrorists don't have the training to be able to use them, but that won't always be the case."

Last year the French public were left concerned and authorities befuddled after unidentified drones were detected flying over nuclear plants across the country.

France’s state-run power company EDF rang alarm bells when it announced it had filed a complaint with police after detecting the small unmanned aerial vehicles zipping over seven atomic plants in October.

Since then, more have been spotted and there have been at least 16 fly-overs throughout France, usually at night, leaving jittery authorities clueless as to who is piloting these helicopter-type machines.

Story continues below…

According to regulations, drone operators in 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. 

READ MORE: Who's flying drones over France’s nuclear plants?

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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