DENVER—A German citizen who crashed a drone into a lake in Yellowstone National Park this summer has been banned from the park for a year and was ordered to pay $1,600 in fines and restitution.
Andreas Meissner of Koenigswinter, Germany, was charged after a drone he was using to shoot video of a charity bicycle ride through the park crashed near the Great Village Marina on Yellowstone Lake in July.
Meissner, 37, appeared via telephone in a federal courtroom in the park Sept. 17 and pleaded guilty to violating the ban on drones, filming without a permit and leaving property unattended, KUSA-TV reported (http://on9news.tv/1ruvDRk). Meissner’s sentence included a year of unsupervised probation.
Meissner declined to comment on the allegations in an email to KUSA.
Prosecutors agreed to dismiss a charge that alleged Meissner made a false report to a government employee. A park ranger said Meissner asked for helping retrieving a camera from the lake, but did not mention it was attached to a drone. Meissner initially said he was filming from a kayak, the ranger said.
Divers recovered the drone 10 days after it crashed and the National Park Service seized the equipment.
The park service issued a nationwide ban on drones in national parks June 20.
“This is, frankly, a new management challenge for us at Yellowstone,” park spokesman Al Nash said. “Up until this summer, (drone use) had been a very infrequent issue—really not something we had run into. It became an issue this year.”
Information from: KUSA-TV, http://www.9news.com