A drone at the U.S. Open crashed Thursday night during the Women’s Singles Second Round match between Flavia Pennetta and Monica Niculescu. The object crashed into an empty seating section in Louis Armstrong Stadium, according to Bleacher Report.
Police arrested a 26-year-old teacher who was charged with reckless endangerment. No one was injured in the drone crash, but Pennetta did say she was quite shaken up by the experience. In fact, she thought for a split second that it was a bomb and that it was “over.”
“It was a little bit scary, I have to say. With everything going on in the world… I thought, ‘OK, it’s over.’ That’s how things happen.”
The tennis player wasn’t told by the umpire what the black device actually was, so she was in the dark about it for a while.
“The chair umpire just wanted to wait for an OK from the police to be able to continue, even if, truthfully, I don’t think even they knew what it was.”
Pennetta shares that her coach and physical therapist were seated at the opposite end of the stadium from where the drone crashed at the U.S. Open. They, too, were afraid. As the tennis champion goes on to say, even with all of the protective measures being implemented, something just shows up from nowhere.
“All of these [security measures], and then it comes in from above.”
The drone wound up crashing into pieces. ESPN identifies the teacher arrested as Daniel Verley. He’s also being charged with operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of prescribed area. The drone had reportedly buzzed over the court in Louis Armstrong Stadium before crashing into the seats. U.S. Tennis Association spokesman, Chris Widmaier, said no one was injured when the drone interrupted the U.S. Open.
Soon after the drone crashed at the U.S. Open around 8:30 p.m., Verley was found at a marina on the opposite side of Citi Field. A police department spokesman confirms that Verley is a teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn.
When the U.S. Open continued after the drone incident, Pennetta won the match.
Luckily, no one was injured during the drone crash at the U.S. Open. Had there been spectators in the stadium where the drone hit, there could have been serious or deadly consequences. At that time, not too many filled the stadium seats.
[Photo Credit: Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images]