A photographer got a surprise when his drone was suddenly stolen mid-flight — by none other than an eagle.
Photographer Adam Culbertson — who goes by @atomic_adventure on Instagram — was flying his DJI Avata drone with virtual reality (VR) goggles over ancient rock formations near Capitol Reef National Park in Torrey, Utah.
However, as Culbertson was soaring his drone over the rock structures, an eagle suddenly snatched the photographer’s aircraft as it was flying mid-air.
In the video, Culbertson is seen smoothly flying his aircraft near Capitol Reef National Park. However, about one minute into the clip, the photographer’s smooth drone flight is abruptly disrupted.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the corner of an eagle’s wing is seen in the footage. The eagle’s head, beak, wings, and belly suddenly come into the shot as the bird grabs the drone out of the sky. The eagle snatches the aircraft for itself and flies away with it.
‘The Eagle’s Camera Work is Much Smoother Than Mine’
On Instagram, Culbertson said that he filmed the footage from onboard the VR googles that he was using to pilot the drone.
“Just an eagle reminding me whose airspace I’m in! I kept thinking the eagle would drop it, but it quickly carried my new FPV drone all the way out of range (presumably to some faraway nest),” Culbertson explains.
“Luckily these drones shut off their propellers as soon as they detect an impact, so the eagle was not harmed.”
The photographer later quips: “I do hope someone finds the extended footage one day — the eagle’s camera work is much smoother than mine.”
According to Futurism, Culbertson seemed to suggest that he searched for the drone but he was unable to find the aircraft.
“Oh yeah I gave up, the eagle was going over 40mph and was pretty far away by the time I lost connection,” Culbertson writes on Reddit.
“I spend time in the backcountry and it’s likely in one of the most inaccessible areas in the state of Utah.”
However, the photographer mentioned that he was able to get a replacement drone from DJI as equipment stolen by a bird constitutes a “flyaway.” Another Reddit user explains that “flyaway” is defined as “something outside of your control [that] causes your drone to fly away never to be seen again.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.