Divers searching Lake Conroe for $250K sheriff's office drone

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by The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 4:52 PM

CONROE, Texas—Divers are searching Lake Conroe for a $250,000 law enforcement drone that crashed into the water last week.
   
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said the drone malfunctioned and dropped into the water during a training exercise Friday.
   
”They are still looking,” sheriff’s spokesman Brady Fitzgerald said.

The drone went down in deep water with a rocky bottom covered in silt.
   
The sheriff’s office said it uses the drone only for emergency management, missing person recovery and other operations, including filming above tactical officer activities. The six-foot long helicopter drone is equipped with a camera and an infrared scanning device, and was purchased in 2011 using a federal grant.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that it is also looking into the crash because it has jurisdiction over unmanned drone aircraft.

“An observer saw the helicopter rotor blade shatter just before the crash,” FAA Spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.

The sheriff’s office said the search for the drone will be ongoing.
   
Lake Conroe is about 50 miles north of Houston.


KHOU 11 News Reporter Jeremy Desel contributed to this report.

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