Look up and look out before flying drones

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Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), the network company, has issued a safety warning to anyone flying drones to stay well away from power lines and substations.

The warning follows a rise in popularity of drones and quadcopters as Christmas presents, and NIE has said these aircraft could cause damage to the network if they crashed into equipment.

Rachele Walker, NIE Safety Officer says planning a safe flight route should be a priority. Rachele said: “We have had incidents in the past where model aircraft have come into contact with the network, causing power cuts. The new drones and quadcopters are very powerful and can fly at great speeds and heights. The range is such that they can be difficult to see, especially on duller days.

“If one of these drones was to strike an overhead power line or crash into a substation, it could cause major equipment damage and also injure those on the ground. If you’ve been given a drone for Christmas, we want you to enjoy it safely, so fly it where there is no risk of hitting overhead power lines or substations.

Rachele added: “If you do lose control of your aircraft and it falls into a substation or brings down an overhead power line, stay well away and contact NIE immediately on 03457 643 643. It’s not worth the risk to try to retrieve it yourself.”

For more information about staying safe around electricity equipment visit nie.co.uk or contact us on 03457 643 643.