Unmanned aerial drones have opened up exciting new possibilities for photographers, but they have also proved themselves quite dangerous as a tourist this week learned when he crashed his remote aircraft into a prized Yellowstone National Park hot spring.

Three entry-level quadcopters equipped with built-in cameras - Hubsan X4, Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam and Parrot AR.Drone 2.0.

The tourist was attempting to take aerial snapshots of the national park’s largest spring, the Grand Prismatic, when the drone plummeted down into the almost 37 meter deep geological feature. The park’s spokesperson, Al Nash, stated that the drone could prove to be a possible threat to the hot spring, as it could disturb minerals and bacteria that are present in the water.

As of now, park officials are weighing the pros and cons on whether or not to remove the remote aircraft, and if it is even possible to find it within the hot spring, which is a staggering 112.8 meters in diameter.

This past June, the National Park Service announced a ban of aerial drones within all national parks, but according to Reuters, officials 'are reporting a sharp rise in the number of drones buzzing bison and boaters'. As of now, the park is attempting to locate the drone operator in this particular case, who has gone missing since the incident.

In the past, using drones for photography was restricted to those with access to higher-end equipment. The technology is now more readily available from companies such as DJI with their popular Phantom series of remote aircrafts. While aerial photography becoming more accessible to the masses is an exciting revolution, it is important to first check with your local laws and regulations before you set out on your next adventure.

Via: ReutersCNN


Michael Archambault is a contributing writer for DPReview.