Drone Smashes into New Hampshire Wedding Guests’ Faces

Two women are suing the groom.
Viareggio, Italy - October 30, 2014: Drone takes off from the operator's hand with camera at sunset Quadcopter industry is told to be growing at triple digitsevery year, for a market expected to pass the 20 billion in the 2020. The dji is a chinese company leader of quadcopter industry, and the phantom is expected to be the top seller gift for christmas 2015

Photo via iStock.com/jon11

There’s nothing like a good drone video—the bird’s eye view, the majestic swooping—to turn something ordinary into a cinematic experience. Like foliage? How about foliage from a drone. Like your city’s skyline? It’s better via drone.

This isn’t always the case, though. There are dangers inherent to the drone-filming process, and now we have a cautionary tale from the great state of New Hampshire to prove it.

Here’s what happened. A couple getting married at Searles Castle in Windham decided to use a drone to film their special day, like more and more people are doing now that drone technology is relatively cheap and ubiquitous. Something went wrong, and the helicopter-like device came clattering down on the heads of a few revelers (the Herald reports that it “slammed into their faces”). Two women are concussed, and pissed. And now, they’re suing.

The AP is reporting today that the women, Kneena Ellis, of New Hampshire, and Kelly Eaton, of Peabody, filed suit on December 1, alleging “they suffered permanent physical and emotional injury.” They named the groom, a man named Barry Bilcliff, and the company that runs events at the castle.

There is disagreement about who was flying the drone, which belongs to Billcliff, at the time. He and his lawyer say he wasn’t at the controls, but a Searles Castle vice president claims that Billcliff was, in fact, piloting the ill-fated device, according to the Herald. And the VP says he never allowed drones in the first place.

This of course is not the first union to be marred by a drone-related mishap.

So if you plan on being a wedding guest for a technology-inclined couple anytime soon, consider packing a helmet.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com