Pacifica police investigators tell CBS 5 that 55-year-old Gerald Destremps was arrested after allegedly piloting his personal drone near a helicopter, causing an interruption to a rescue attempt on Friday morning.
Destremps's drone, police say, caused the California Highway Patrol to abort an attempted rescue of a man who had fallen off a cliff, starting the operation anew. The Pacifica accident took place in an area near where serious erosion has occurred over the last few years.
After receiving a call regarding the man's fall, CHP arrived at the scene in Pacifica to assist with the rescue. A medic was lowered to the beach to assist the injured man, and a helicopter arrived to shine a light on the scene. However, responders spotted the drone near the scene soon after the helicopter's arrival, and to avoid a potential collision, the helicopter suspended the rescue operation and gained altitude. Police located Destremps and took him into custody, and eventually the injured person was taken to the hospital via airlift in unknown condition.
Capt. Joe Spanheimer of the Pacifica Police Department wagged his finger at drone pilots according to the Chronicle. “They’re fun, sure, but because we’re in the San Francisco International Airport airspace, there are actually very very few spots in Pacifica that you can legally fly a drone," Spanheimer said.