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Bald eagle attacks state-operated drone in U.P, sends it to bottom of Lake Michigan

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 11:24:42-04

(WXYZ) — A bald eagle in the Upper Peninsula attacked a $950 drone operated by the state and sent the aircraft to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

The drone, operated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, was mapping shoreline erosion near Escanaba on July 21 to document and help communities cope with high water levels.

The pilot operating the drone, Hunter King, was recalling the drone when it suddenly began twirling furiously.

"It was like a really bad rollercoaster ride," King said in a press release.

When he looked up, the drone was gone and an eagle was flying away. A couple nearby said the eagle appeared uninjured as it flew away.

Several days later, it was pinpointed that the drone was 150 feet offshore Lake Michigan in four feet of water. EGLE officials were not able to recover the drone.

Data from the flight records indicate that the eagle tore a propeller off of a drone. EGLE officials say the attack could have been a territorial squabble.