Drone pilot fined after steering device above crowds during Raptors celebrations

OTTAWA — The federal government is fining a rogue drone pilot for flying the device over downtown Toronto as crowds celebrated the Raptors’ historic NBA championship win — and again during the victory parade four days later.

Transport Canada says it will serve up a fine of $2,750 to the individual, who was not identified, following its investigation into the incidents in mid-June.

The earthbound pilot broke multiple rules, steering the drone within 30 metres of another person and through the controlled airspace of Toronto’s skyscraper canyons — which sit within three nautical miles of an airport. The Transport Department says the violator flew the remote-controlled device — which was not registered — despite lacking drone pilot certification.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says safety is his “No. 1 priority” and that pilots “must never put people or aircraft in danger.”

Celebrations after the Raptors’ historic win against the Golden State Warriors on June 13 carried on late into the night in Canada’s biggest city.

The daytime victory celebration on June 17 saw an estimated two million people flood the downtown core in an event that drew criticism for its planning, with some bystanders caught in the crossfire when gunfire erupted near city hall, injuring four.

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