MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Dozens of dud drones: Malfunctioning machines sink SeaTac July 4th show

Jul 5, 2024, 1:51 PM | Updated: 4:53 pm

Image: Drones appear to be falling into Angle Lake in SeaTac during the city's Family Fourth of Jul...

Drones appear to be falling into Angle Lake in SeaTac during the city's Family Fourth of July celebration on Thursday, July 4, 2024. (Image courtesy of Matt Markovich, KIRO Newsradio/@mattmarkovich on X)

(Image courtesy of Matt Markovich, KIRO Newsradio/@mattmarkovich on X)

The Fourth of July celebrations in the city of SeaTac Thursday night included dozens of malfunctioning drones, some falling into Angle Lake and sinking.

KIRO Newsradio reporter and analyst Matt Markovich captured video of the beginning of the drone show and what appeared to be a series of machines that were part of the show falling into Angle Lake.

Markovich also reported a member of his family took his boat out in an effort to help recover the drones and discovered they sank to the bottom of the lake, some with their lights still on.

MyNorthwest reached out to the city of SeaTac for comments Friday morning about what happened during the drone show and the city responded with a press release late Friday afternoon that it also posted on the city SeaTac blog.

The release confirmed the drone show, which was a new event in 2024, ran into “a technical glitch, which rendered several dozen of the drones inoperable.” The drone light show vendor is currently reviewing what caused the glitch. At this time, the vendor believes the cause was outside of the drone operator’s control, the release states.

The vendor lost 55 of 200 drones, the city said.

In the city’s statement, Great Lakes Drone Company owner and CEO Mathew Quinn said the drone light show performance experienced “a sudden loss of GPS signal on several drones causing them to go into a failsafe landing mode.”

“The pilot took measures to stop the show and return the drones to their take off location,” Quinn added in the statement. “During this process several more drones continued to lose GPS signals
causing them to not know where ‘home’ was.”

At this time, the cause of the drones malfunctioning is unknown. It is currently under investigation by the flight team and authorities.

The statement concluded by reporting the drone show was forced to end early and no one was injured.

More on the SeaTac Family Fourth of July Celebration

The city’s Family Fourth of July Celebration took place Thursday at Angle Lake Park. The event featured live entertainment and a children’s area that was set up during most of the day ahead of the evening events.

The festivities at night included both drone and fireworks presentations. The drone show came first and started before 10 p.m. According to the description of the event on the city website the show was supposed to feature “200 drones will light up the night sky, in a captivating areal display, performing an illuminated, synchronized show.”

Following the drone show came a fireworks display that was put on by the Angle Lake Shore Club. That portion of the show was scheduled to take place just after 10 p.m. and there were no issues with that portion of the evening events.

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, or email him here.

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Dozens of dud drones: Malfunctioning machines sink SeaTac July 4th show