Drone Pilot Arrested For Interrupting Pacifica Rescue

PACIFICA (CBS SF) — A Pacifica man has been arrested after the drone he was piloting forced a California Highway Patrol helicopter crew to abort a rescue attempt for a man who had fallen from a cliff, authorities said.

Pacifica police investigators said 55-year-old Gerald Destremps was taken into custody after his drone interrupted the rescue attempt on Friday morning.

First responders from the North County Fire Authority and the Pacifica Police Department were called to 320 Esplanade Ave. to rescue of a person who had apparently fallen off the cliff.

A call went into the CHP to help with the rescue. A medic was lowered to the beach to prepare the injured person for transportation to the hospital.

When the helicopter arrived on scene, it illuminated the subject and medic with its spotlight. Shortly after the helicopter’s arrival, responders noticed a drone hovering near the scene. The drone moved around the area, often coming close to the area of the helicopter.

Investigators said once the helicopter crew found out there was a drone on scene, they had to suspend the rescue operation and gain altitude to avoid a collision.

Officers were able to locate the drone’s operator — Destremps — and took him into custody.

Eventually, the person was airlifted and taken to the hospital. Their condition was not known.

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