Nanaimo RCMP are thanking the public for pointing them to a man who allegedly strung fishing line on wires near Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
Police started their investigation into the incident when police were contacted by B.C. Hydro after its crews were tasked with removing 50-pound test fishing line wrapped around power lines in the Waddington Road and Dufferin Crescent area.
Line was found on trees, across roadways, over houses and through yards, according to a press release Tuesday. Police thought at that point someone had possibly used a drone to place the fishing line.
“Nanaimo RCMP, as well as the B.C. Hydro crews, believe unknown persons were using a drone to fly the wire around the lines,” said Armstrong. “Upon further inspection, it was noted a small flashlight and headlamp were fastened to the line. Investigators believe this was done so the suspects would be able to see where the drone was flying the line.”
Armstrong didn’t know why anyone would put fish line on wires, but suggested it could’ve been done by children looking to see how their drone works.
In the past, there have been similar incidents near the hospital landing pad and it could lead to dire consequences for air ambulances, as pilots may not see the wire and helicopter rotator blades could become tangled, which could result in a crash, according to Armstrong.
In the press release, Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said this behaviour is reckless and puts the public and crews at risk. In turn, it could lead to consequences for the culprits.
“If an accident or outage were to occur, those involved in this negligent behaviour expose themselves to criminal charges and lawsuits for damages as a result of an incident. B.C. Hydro will seek damages for costs of any work required to repair lines or make them safe,” Olynyk said.
But drones were not to blame in this case.
Police said in an press release Wednesday, investigators followed up on a tip from the public and went to the suspect’s residence where he admitted his involvement in the incident. He told police he had been flying a high-altitude kite, which accidentally got away from him. The man was cautioned about the possible consequences of his actions and the potential criminal charges he could face. No further action is being considered against the male and the investigation has been concluded.
Police also ask that operators don’t fly drones anywhere where they might interfere with first responders or within nine kilometres of an airport.