Attention drawn to drone over East Harlem explosion

Attention drawn to drone over East Harlem explosion

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Some of the more detailed footage taken of the blast site in the wake of the deadly gas leak explosion in East Harlem was taken by a commercial drone manned by a man from New Jersey.

Brian Wilson, 45, a business systems specialist shot several hours of aerial video using a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter.

The unmanned flying vehicle comes equipped with a video camera.

"The technology really has come a long way. It stays up about 25-30 minutes. I use it to document lots of things including real estate, events, cycling, weddings," said Wilson who used extra battery packs to keep flying it over the blast site.

Through a friend in the advertising industry, Wilson made the video available to media outlets and the clips went viral.

The drone, which costs approximately $1,200, got lots of attention from people at the scene, too, including law enforcement.

"They saw me numerous times. One or two of them came over to look at the footage," said Wilson who was eventually asked to land the drone.

The unmanned aerial vehicle did not impede the work of firefighters or emergency crews at the scene.

"They just wanted to have less chaos there," added Wilson.

While there are no direct guidelines restricting the use of a small, commercial drone, Wilson says it takes practice especially knowing how to handle it in different environments.

"This was the first and hopefully last time filming a disaster," said Wilson.

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