Have drones gone too far?
A small drone flying low to the ground crashed onto the White House grounds. It triggered a major emergency response. And it raised fresh questions about security at the presidential mansion.
A man said he was responsible and didn't mean to fly it over the complex.
The man contacted the Secret Service. He told the agency that he had been flying the drone recreationally. The man is a Washington resident. He is cooperating with investigators.
Officials first needed to examine the drone. The White House later said it did not pose a threat.
The drone crashed on the southeast side of the White House grounds. The incident occurred just after 3 a.m. Monday. President Barack Obama was not at home.
The device was described as a two-foot-long quadcopter. It is lifted by four propellers. Many small quadcopters are sophisticated toys. They can also be useful for commercial operations. They are used for aerial photography and inspections. Most weigh only a few pounds. They sell for a few hundred dollars or less. Many were popular Christmas gifts in 2014.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama were traveling in India. Their daughters, Sasha and Malia, may have been at home. White House officials declined to comment on the daughters' whereabouts Monday. But ahead of the president's trip, aides had said the daughters would remain in Washington.
Inexpensive drones have prompted growing fears. Could they cause collisions with traditional aircraft? Or what if they carried weapons? The military already uses them for that purpose.
Industry experts said that to carry and fire a weapon, a drone would need more engines and more propellers than most commercially manufactured quadcopters.
Critical thinking challenge: Give two reasons why the drone did not pose a threat to the president.