Last updated: 06:50 PM ET, Thu October 22 2015

Drone Crashes At US Open During Match

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | September 04, 2015

Drone Crashes At US Open During Match

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The bane of air traffic existence these days – drones – reared its ugly head again Thursday in what potentially could have been a disastrous situation.

As it was, a drone crashed into an unoccupied section of seats at the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York, and although no one was hurt, it was still a frightening sight.

The owner of the drone, 26-year old Daniel Verley, faces charges of reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of a prescribed area, according to the Associated Press.

The drone was seen above the court at Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday night during a match between Flavia Pennetta of Italy and Monica Niculescu of Romania. Pennetta, who eventually won the match after the drone crash-landed in the seats, told reporters afterward she initially thought it was a bomb.

"A little bit scary, I have to say," Pennetta said. "With everything going on in the world ... I thought, 'OK, it's over.' That's how things happen.”

The match was only briefly interrupted.

"The chair umpire just wanted to wait for an OK from the police to be able to continue," Pennetta said, "even if, truthfully, I don't think even they knew what it was."

The U.S. Open is a huge tourist draw for New York City. Newsday estimated that 45 percent of attendees live outside the greater New York Metropolitan area, and the International Business Times reported that the city generates upward of $700 million during the two-week tournament.

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