French tourist arrested for Colosseum drone flight

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A French tourist was charged by police after flying a drone over the Colosseum. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
14:00 CEST+02:00
A French tourist was arrested by police in Rome on Thursday afternoon after piloting his camera drone over the iconic Colosseum.

While the opportunity of getting some aerial footage of the Flavian Amphitheatre might seem tempting, strict laws govern the piloting of remote aircraft in Italy.

When the tourist brought the drone back down to earth at around midday, he was quickly arrested by police and charged with violating Italian aviation rules. The aircraft was also confiscated, Adnkronos reported.

Though it is likely to be seen as a misdemeanor, violating Italian aviation rules is an offence potentially punishable with fines of up to €113,000.

“Tourists are often caught flying drones,” a spokesperson for the Italian Civil Aviation Authority, Enac, told The Local.

“For most urban flights people will need to obtain a permit and we invite people to read our guidelines before they try anything.”

Current guidelines say drones cannot be flown above 230 feet (70 metres) and must remain within a 490 foot (150 metre) radius of the pilot at all times.

Laws also state that drones must carry third-party insurance and that piloted aircraft must not come within 80 meters of private property. Crucially, they cannot be flown over populated areas or railways, factories and roads without obtaining prior permission from Enac.

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This is not the first time drone-flying tourists have got into hot water in Italy.

Last year a pair of Israeli tourists were detained for flying their remote-controlled aircraft over the Vatican, while a Korean tourist in Milan found himself in hot water after slamming his drone into the roof of its iconic cathedral

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