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storm chaser records how drone is engulfed by tornado

Storm chaser records how drone is engulfed by tornado

American storm chaser, Brian Emfinger recently captured bizarre drone footage of an approaching tornado near the town of Yazoo City, Mississippi. The impressive weather phenomenon was immediately the last thing he would ever film with the drone in question, as the device was mercilessly engulfed by the whirlwind while the drone pilot brought himself to safety.

Storm chaser records how drone is engulfed by tornado

In addition to being a storm chaser and astrophotographer, Brian Emfinger has also been working with drones for years. For example, in 2014 he documented the devastation caused by a tornado in the city of Mayflower. That video was picked up by all news channels and led to more than 2 million views on YouTube alone. Recently Brian also made drone shots of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland.

Because of his fascination with extreme weather events, Brian never gave a second thought when he was near a tornado southwest of Yazoo City in early May. He launched his drone to capture the oncoming whirlwind from the sky. In the video, the sound of the storm can be heard as it was heard on the ground, at the time of recording. Unfortunately, the drone did not survive.

Brian said the following about the video:

“The tornado was catching me (I was near/underneath the drone) so unfortunately the drone didn’t make it. The last shots it got are included here. [The] sound is from my controller I was holding and you can hear the tornado (that’s how close I was).”

And he later added the following information about the video:

“Further clarification since places are doing news stories without contacting me just going off the info here.

I know what I am doing around tornadoes. I was setting up for the tornado to cross the road right in front of me. I was set up in a open area and really hoped that viewing location would work because the road was in a tree canyon everywhere else. Unfortunately the tornado drifted just a little further east than I’d hoped. Where I launched the drone and was setup ended up being about right in the middle of the path. I was reluctant to leave the good viewing spot so I didn’t in fact leave until the tornado was within 100yds and debris was starting to rain down (you can hear some of that in the video). So I had to quickly drive east a few hundred yards to get out Of the path. While I was going that I wasn’t focused on flying the drone and in those few seconds it got caught in the rotation around the tornado and by the time I got back to flying it, well it was too late. Tree debris was falling near the drone and winds were too strong. Connection to the drone was lost soon after. I optimistically returned and waited at my home point but no drone came home.

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This article first appeared on Dronewatch.nl and is written by Wiebe de Jager who is also a DroneXL contributor.

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Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager (@wdejager) is the founder of Dronewatch and author of several bestselling books about drone photography. Wiebe is a certified drone pilot and has a full ROC license.

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