US & Canada

US Open: New York teacher arrested after drone crashes into stands

A drone sits in the stands at Louis Armstrong Stadium on 3 September 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The stadium was only partially filled when the drone crashed

A teacher in New York has been arrested for flying and crashing a drone into empty seats during a tennis match at the US Open, police say.

Daniel Verley, 26, has been charged with reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a public park outside of a prescribed area.

Tennis officials say no-one was injured, though the drone briefly interrupted a tennis match.

The incident took place at the Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday evening.

One of the players in action at the time, 26th-seed Flavia Pennetta, described hearing the drone fly by, not knowing what it was and fearing the worst.

"With everything going on in the world... I thought, 'OK, it's over.' That's how things happen," Ms Pennetta, 33, told the Associated Press news agency.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Flavia Pennetta said she feared the worst when she heard the drone during her match

She said they were never told by the umpire or US Open officials that the object was a drone. It reportedly broke into pieces as it landed, interrupting the match as police and fire emergency personnel investigated.

"If there had been spectators, it would have hit them and done a lot of damage," she added. The 10,000-seat stadium was only partially filled at the time, compared to several hours earlier when it was packed.

In fact it was not the first time the Italian player has had an encounter with a drone mid-match, according to New York Daily News. Another New York man was arrested during last year's US Open for piloting a drone outside the tennis grounds while Ms Pennetta was playing Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

Ms Pennetta later went on to win against Romanian Monica Niculescu, 27, taking her into the third round of this year's tournament.

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