New drone video shows continued mass burials at Hart Island

Almost two weeks ago, we first reported on George Steinmetz’ DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone that was confiscated by NYPD officers in plainclothes. The officers appeared from an unmarked van when Steinmetz used his drone to take aerial footage of the mass burials at Hart Island in New York. We thought that we would not see any new aerial videos or photos of the island for a while, but today a new drone video surfaced.

Police confiscated Steinmetz’s drone because he launched and landed the unmanned aircraft from City Island, which is part of the Bronx, one of the boroughs in the city of New York. A decades-old law prohibits any aircraft, including unmanned aircraft from landing and taking off within the five boroughs of New York City. Unless you had a permit from the city, the only way to legally fly a drone over Hart Island would be to take off from a boat in the Long Island Sound.

New drone video shows continued mass burials at Hart Island

We thought that after the NYPD had confiscated George Steinmetz’s drone, we probably would not see any new video footage or aerial photos from Hart Island for some time. However, in USA Today a new video surfaced that shows the mass burials continuing.

The video that was recorded today is from Tariq Zehawi and Danielle Parhizkaran and first appeared on NorthJersey.com.

The article in USA Today says that during the coronavirus crisis, a body unclaimed by a funeral home within 15 days is sent to Hart Island, the final resting place of the city’s indigent and unclaimed dead since shortly after the Civil War. Over 1 million people have been buried on the island, and it is not the first time mass burials have taken place here during a pandemic.

In the past victims of the Spanish Influenza and the AIDS epidemic have also been buried on this island. The mass burials are managed by the city’s Department of Correction. The people in the video who perform the burials are almost certainly inmates from Rikers Island.

Photo: Tariq Zehawi and Danielle Parhizkaran / USA Today

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Haye Kesteloo

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