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11-month-old girl hit in head by crashing drone; FAA investigating

The Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday that it will investigate a drone accident that injured an 11-month-old girl in the head when it crashed last weekend on a Pasadena street.

Authorities said the baby was being pushed in a stroller by her mother when she was hit with debris from a small, privately-owned drone that came down on Marengo Avenue near Union Street about 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The baby suffered a large contusion on her forehead and a small cut to the side of her head, according to police. She was treated at a hospital and released.

Her mother also was hit by parts of the aircraft, but was not injured.

Police said they found the owner of the drone at the accident site. He reportedly told officers that he lost control of the unmanned aircraft while attending an event at Pasadena City Hall. After the accident, he said, he waited for authorities to arrive.

Police said they forwarded their report to the FAA’s Flight Standards Office at Van Nuys Airport to see if the owner of the drone had violated federal regulations. The name of the operator was not available Wednesday.

FAA officials said they would look into the incident. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, anyone who carelessly or recklessly flies a drone can face fines between $1,000 and $25,000.

The agency has become concerned about a growing number of reports complaining about unsafe flights of unmanned aircraft. As a result, it has stepped up its education of operators and enforcement efforts related to hazardous drone operations.

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FAA officials say they have initiated more than 20 enforcement cases. Five have resulted in settlments in which operators paid fines while penalties have been proposed in five other cases.

Government authorization is not required to operate a drone for hobby purposes. However, there are laws and guidelines prohibiting drone flights that endanger manned aircraft and people on the ground. For example, drones should be flown below 400 feet and not over unprotected people or vehicles.

Follow @LADeadline16 on Twitter for aviation news.

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