In a surprising turn of events, a photographer had his drone stolen by an eagle while it was in mid-flight. Adam Culbertson, also known as @atomic_adventure on Instagram, was flying his DJI Avata drone equipped with virtual reality goggles near Capitol Reef National Park in Torrey, Utah.
While maneuvering the drone over the ancient rock formations, the eagle swooped in and snatched the device from the sky. This remarkable incident, now viral on the r/Drones subreddit, was caught on camera and shared by Culbertson himself.
The video begins with a smooth flight over Capitol Reef National Park. However, one minute into the clip, the eagle’s presence disrupts the tranquility. Its wing appears suddenly and then the entire bird comes into view, grabbing the drone and taking flight with it.
Culbertson, who filmed the footage using VR goggles, comments on Instagram that the eagle flew the drone out of range, most likely to its nest in a distant location. Fortunately, the drone’s safety feature automatically stopped its propellers upon impact, ensuring the eagle remained unharmed.
Jokingly, Culbertson adds that he hopes someone finds the extended footage, as the eagle’s camera work was smoother than his own. Despite searching for the drone, Culbertson admits that his attempts were futile. The eagle was flying at high speed and had already gone far when the connection was lost.
Considering the inaccessible nature of the backcountry areas in Utah, it is unlikely that the drone will be found. However, Culbertson mentions that DJI provided a replacement drone since this incident qualifies as a “flyaway” – a situation where uncontrollable circumstances result in the drone flying off unexpectedly.