Bum Drones

Unmanned and unsafe


In January, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deliberately scuttled a Predator B drone into the ocean off the coast of San Diego.

The drone was launched from Arizona, operated from Texas, and supervised by people in D.C., who were using it to find boats that might be smuggling drugs into the country. The Texas operators noticed a mechanical problem, which made them decide that deliberately destroying the plane was the safest option. In November, near Port Mogu, California, another malfunctioning drone had crashed and hurt two sailors and damaged a missile cruiser.

CBP immediately grounded its other nine multi-million-dollar border drones "out of an abundance of caution," according to the agency's press release. A 2013 report by NBC found that drones are anywhere from 20 to 300 times "more likely to crash than small civil aircrafts."