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Drone knocks out power to hundreds of West Hollywood residents

Authorities are looking for the pilot of a drone that flew into power lines Monday in West Hollywood and knocked out service to hundreds of Southern California Edison customers, officials said.

Witnesses reported seeing a drone buzz into the wires lining Larrabee Street and Sunset Boulevard about 1:15 p.m. knocking one to the ground, said Lt. Edward Ramirez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The downed wire cut off power for nearly 700 SCE customers, said company spokesman Robert Villegas.

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“We’re accustomed to a variety of items in the line – from small animals to big animals … Mylar balloons. It’s always an area of concern,” Villegas said.

But he said it’s the first time he’d heard of a drone knocking out power to SCE customers. It took three hours to restore service for everyone, he said.

Meanwhile, the search for the drone pilot continues. Investigators found bits of the drone on the ground along with one of its propellers, Ramirez said.

The incident is just the latest example of drone technology’s growing prevalence in California and beyond. Last week, the U.S. Transportation secretary announced plans to require owners of recreational drones to register them with the government like commercial drone owners do.

In Los Angeles, the City Council recently approved an ordinance that mirrors Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for civilian drone flights, which would limit drone flight altitude and distance from people and airports.

For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.

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