As shown in the video of 22 December, the incident could have been dramatic. Marcel Hirscher avoided the drone’s crash by just a few hundredths of a second. The Austrian skier had no inkling of what had happened behind him during the FIS (International Ski Federation) Alpine Ski World Cup slalom event at the Italian resort of Madonna di Campiglio in northern Italy. Due to the violence of the impact, the drone literally disintegrated upon crashing onto the piste.
The drone, a DFC-COPTER XR1, had been broadcasting live television aerial images of the competition from points of view unobtainable by other means. Following the incident the FIS immediately opened an investigation, whose initial technical report indicates that "strong interferences" caused the drone’s malfunction.
Infront Sports & Media, the company providing the retransmission images, indicated that they had called upon the services of a third party for the drone and its pilot. They also stated that, in agreement with the FIS, they have decided to refrain from using drones for broadcast purposes until the outcome of the inquest concerning the incident.
In addition to the drone’s malfunction, it seems that not all safety measures had been taken by either the drone operator, or the organizers. If this was indeed the case, why was there a drone to be found anywhere near the slalom course and therefore the skiers?
The sector is booming, and the occurrence of this incident can only add weight to the necessity of the legislation, which is already being put into place in France, Europe and countries such as the US. The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC), which adopted regulations concerning the use of drones on 30 April 2014, is also expected to involve itself in the case.