Close Call at Concert: Photographer Fined for Near-Miss Drone Incident with DJ Fatboy Slim

drone incident fatboy slimA UK court ordered a photographer to pay over $1100 in fines after he nearly crashed into DJ Fatboy Slim at a beachside concert.

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian J. McNabb

Local Brighton news channels report that as a crowd of 8,500 partied away at Brighton Beach on July 22, 2022, the electronic music producer’s set was suddenly interrupted 15 minutes before it ended by a DJI Mavic Mini (piloted by Giles Darby, an amateur photographer) streaking through the crowd and nearly hitting Slim himself. Darby reportedly admitted to “recklessly or negligently” putting Slim at risk, but insisted that his intent was merely to record the show.

“I did not intend to put anyone in danger. I wanted to create a slow, cinematic appearance,” said Darby. “I crashed trying to leave the area, looking to back out for an overview of the scene and finish with a wide view. It was an honest mistake that I will ensure will never repeat itself.” However, Crown Prosecutor Megan Atree highlighted that Darby had ignored multiple warnings before his dramatic fly-by, stating, “The defendant had placed the drone into sport mode, in which obstacle avoiding doesn’t work, which increases the dangers. The footage shows a near miss collision with the crowd and performer. There was no damage or injury, but the risk was very real and very present.”

Darby was found in violation of Part 240 of the Air Navigation Act of 2016, which can include unlimited fines or criminal referrals to higher courts as penalties. When arguing for leniency, he said he had since received his drone operator’s license. Ultimately, he was ordered to pay a £891 fine, ($1,132), and was eventually allowed to keep the drone due to “previous good character and an early guilty plea.”

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Ian McNabb is a staff writer based in Boston, MA. His interests include geopolitics, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, and Boston College sports.