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Drone recovered from Lake Michigan after losing confrontation with bald eagle

The attack happened July 21, when the drone was mapping shoreline erosion near Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Credit: michigan.gov

MICHIGAN, USA — A drone has been pulled from Lake Michigan following an aerial assault from a bald eagle. 

The drone was operated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). 

EGLE's Willful Eagle Trauma Team Engaged in Retrieval (WETTER) pulled the soggy hardware from the lakebed Tuesday afternoon. 

The attack happened July 21, when the drone was mapping shoreline erosion near Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to document and help communities cope with high water levels, the department said in a statement.

RELATED: Bald eagle attacks $950 government drone, sending it to bottom of Lake Michigan

The team controlling the drone was able to find it quite easy due to shifting winds and currents. 

"We wish we had a story where we located it with the sonar and the camera and pulled it up," said Brian Eustice, a geologist with EGLE. "But it was just right there. We couldn't believe we found it so easily.

The team is still assessing the damage from the attack, but even if the SD card with the video is intact there will not be any video because the drone was in "Return Home" mode and it was not recording at the time.

EGLE drone operators are exploring methods of keeping drones – and raptors – safer in the future. Possibilities include painting or applying "skins" that make the drones look less like seagulls, better procedures for identifying high-risk areas, and different procedures and technology for recovering downed units.

Credit: michigan.gov

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