Quadcopter Drone

FILE: Drone. File photo. Image by: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

While Cape Town firefighting helicopters were busy dousing a blaze that left thousands homeless in Imizamo Yethu‚ Hout Bay‚ a drone was hampering operations.

It is not yet known who the drone belonged to‚ but according to City of Cape Town fire spokesman‚ Theo Layne‚ the aerial interloper was privately owned.

“It was a private drone‚ I really don’t know who it was or what it was. It wasn’t anything we had to do with‚” said Layne. He said to take down the drone during the operation would have meant the firefighters had to firstly find out who its owner was‚ a difficult task under the circumstances.

“It meant that the helicopters had to be extremely careful because if there is a drone in the area‚ they can’t just carry out their [usual] functions‚” he said. He said pilots had to be a lot more vigilant and that meant they could not do their jobs quickly enough.

“It is illegal for a drone to be flying around where there is manned aircraft in the air … but to find the person‚ it is difficult‚” he added.

Lauren Howard‚ spokesperson for Working on Fire‚ said the city had indicated that it would investigate the matter. Meanwhile‚ acting City of Cape Town mayor‚ Ian Neilson‚ said the municipality was working with civic partners to provide for affected residents in Imizamo Yethu.

He said the city’s Disaster Risk Management Centre was coordinating efforts through its non-governmental partners – the Red Cross Society‚ the Mustadafin Foundation and Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDI). Neilson said meals‚ blankets‚ vanity packs‚ baby packs and mattresses were distributed in the area.

“It is foreseen that it will take at least a week for the City’s Solid Waste Management Department to clear the debris. The site would then have to be levelled and redesigned.”

He said all water and electricity services were being reinstated “Due to the scale of the fire‚ it may take some time before all residents receive their building kits‚ however the City is doing everything in our power to ensure that this happens as quickly as possible‚” he said.


TMG Digital/The Times/Times Live



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