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Padres, MLB issue statements on drone incident at Sunday’s game

Major League Baseball and the San Diego Padres have both issued statements to address an incident Sunday that could have proved dangerous when a drone crashed into the stands at Petco Park, nearly hitting fans.

The crash occurred during the seventh inning of the Padres’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Footage posted to Twitter by FOX Sports Arizona shows just how close the drone came to striking a fan or fans seated in the upper deck.

“Our Security Department became aware of yesterday’s incident and we have been in touch with the local authorities. We are continuing to monitor the situation. Drones are prohibited items at all of our ballparks,” according to a Major League Baseball spokesperson, by way of Sports Techie’s Mark J. Burns, via SI.com.

A statement from Padres chief operating officer Erik Greupner read as follows: “Guest safety at Petco Park is a top priority for the Padres. Sunday’s drone incident was immediately addressed by Padres’ security and the San Diego Police Department to ensure the safety of our guests. This incident highlights the dangers posed by unauthorized drone use in proximity to large public venues like Petco Park. The Padres vocally supported the City of San Diego’s recently enacted ordinance that enables SDPD to enforce the FAA’s restrictions on operating drones near large public venues.

“We look forward to continuing to work with local authorities to ensure that this ordinance is enforced to the fullest extent possible.”

Padres security and the San Diego Police Department worked together to investigate the crash. The operator was tracked down outside Petco Park, per a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune. The operator was not arrested or cited, but San Diego FOX 5 reports he could be fined upwards of $1,437 by the FAA.

Major League Baseball, beyond local ordinances and laws concerning drone operation, prohibits the flying of drones above ballparks during games.