BALTIMORE, Maryland – The AFC Championship match between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens experienced a brief interruption due to the presence of a drone. The drone operator, Matthew Hebert of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, now faces serious charges for the incident that occurred at the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Hebert has been charged with three felony counts, including the operation of an unregistered drone, acting as an airman without a certificate, and violating national defense airspace. According to regulations, drones are not permitted to fly within three miles of stadiums seating at least 30,000 people during NFL games.
Authorities were able to track the drone to a nearby neighborhood, where they found Hebert. He admitted to operating the drone, stating that he had purchased it online in 2021 and used an app to control it. He further explained that the app had previously prevented him from flying the drone due to restrictions, but during the Chiefs-Ravens game, the app worked, leading him to believe that it was permissible to fly the drone.
If convicted, Hebert could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in federal prison for operating an unregistered drone and acting as an airman without a certificate. Additionally, he could face up to one year in federal prison for willfully violating United States national defense airspace.
The use of drones near stadiums and other restricted areas has raised concerns regarding safety and security. It is essential for drone operators to be aware of and comply with the regulations to prevent potential disruptions or threats. Authorities continue to emphasize the importance of following the rules to avoid serious legal consequences and ensure the safety of public events and spaces.