Crashed drone mistaken for small airplane by first aid responders in Costa Rica

Municipal Police of Escazú, Costa Rica and first aid responders rushed to the crash site of what was thought to be a small glider airplane. On closer inspection, the aerial vehicle turned out to be a 10-foot long drone hanging in the crown of a tree.

Nacion reported that the call was received by the 9-1-1 emergency system, which triggered the emergency protocol for the first aid response units. Ambulances and police units were directed to the crash site. The first crew to arrive spotted the plane hanging down from a tree and at a distance it represented an airplane. It wasn’t until the units got closer that they realized that in fact, it was a 10-foot long unmanned aerial vehicle.

10-foot long drone resembled airplane from a distance

Enio Cubillo, director of Civil Aviation, said that after receiving the emergency alert, a count was made of the various aircraft in service and it was concluded that no manned aerial vehicles were missing.

Cubillo continued to say: “I hope this serves as a wake-up call to all citizens who, at this time want to buy or give away a vehicle [drone] of these, who must make responsible use to avoid accidents.”

On August 13th of this year, new drone flying rules came into effect in Costa Rica. All drone flights whether commercial or recreational must be carried out outside of controlled airspace and are restricted to 400 feet maximum altitude. Furthermore, no drone flight shall be carried out within a 5-mile radius of any airport or airfield. Unmanned aerial vehicles weighing more than 55 Lbs must have a certificate or airworthiness and require additional registration. All parties performing commercial drone flights must be certified by the Civil Aviation Authority.

In the distance this drone was mistaken for a plane. Photo credit: Police of Excazú.




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Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo