Canada limits recreational drone use as incidents soar
Canada limits recreational drone use as incidents soar

Ottawa (AFP) - Canada on Thursday announced limits on the use of drones for recreation following a surge in the number of incidents due to their rapid rise in popularity.

Henceforth drone operators will be prohibited from flying them above an altitude of 90 meters (295 feet) or within 75 meters of buildings, vehicles or people.

They will also be barred from using them at night, or within nine kilometers (six miles) of an airport, heliport or other aerodrome.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters that the drones must also be marked with contact information in order to help authorities track down the owners of wayward drones.

Offenders may be fined up to Can$3,000 (US$2,300).

"I take very seriously the increased risk to aviation safety and to people on the ground caused by drones. That is why I am proceeding with this measure which takes effect immediately -- to enhance the safety of aviation and the public," Garneau said.

He pointed to a number of close calls between drones and commercial aircraft, and other incidents reported to police involving the flying machines -- up from 41 incidents in 2014 to 148 last year.

The interim regulations -- which will apply until new comprehensive drone rules are rolled out in 2018 -- do not apply to commercial uses of drones.

The rules were welcomed by airlines and airports.

Daniel-Robert Gooch, head of the Canadian Airports Council, said the proliferation of drones in airspace around airports had become "frightening".

"We are pleased the government of Canada has taken concrete steps to keep Canada's airspace safe," he said.

AFP

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