The Missouri State Highway Patrol says drones could interfere with emergency flood services.
The Patrol is asking that drones not be flown over the St. Louis area cities of West Alton, Valley Park, Union, Arnold and Eureka, or anywhere else where a helicopter is seen.
The agency says operating the drones in or near flooded areas that are being monitored by helicopters can pose a serious danger to the crew onboard. Aircraft are also being used for search and rescue operations and delivering relief to victims in flood-affected cities.
In a press release, the State Patrol says while community-based safety guidelines, as developed by organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), include flying no higher than 400 feet, drone operators should understand that law enforcement and other agencies may be operating very close to the ground to monitor flooding and the integrity of levees and other structures. During these low level operations, the flight crew’s attention is focused upon fulfilling their missions, and should not be compromised by unmanned aerial flights.
The number of flood related deaths in Missouri has climbed to 15. The body of a man in southwest Missouri’s Polk County was recovered today, just downstream from where a motorist was swept away by flood waters on December 26th.