An influx of camera-equipped drones illegally flying over national parks reached a new level this week when one crashed into—and possibly damaged—a famed hot spring at Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park.
A park official told Reuters on Wednesday that the unmanned aerial vehicle crashed into the Grand Prismatic Spring on Saturday and sank, potentially damaging the geothermal feature, the largest hot spring in the park and third largest in the world.
The National Parks Service banned drone flights in June as parks are reporting a spike in drones, which are annoying some visitors and, at times, crashing. Earlier this summer, according to Reuters, a drone crashed into a marina at Yellowstone Lake.
Yellowstone National Park now has to decide whether–and how–to extract the doomed drone from the hot spring, which is more than 121 feet deep.
“What we have to determine is whether the presence of this radio-controlled recreational aircraft poses a threat to that unique resource,” park spokesperson Al Nash told Reuters.