Judgement is still up in the air on a daring drone fishing stunt at Upper Coliban Reservoir under investigation by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
A group of four men in their 20s found instant fame last week from a viral video of their fishing on the fly but could now face penalties of between $1000-$10,000.
The stunt saw Kyneton fisherman Sam Foreman dangle metres above the water, suspended in a chair to fish from a $20,000 custom-made drone developed by the group as a hobby project over two years.
CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson said the aviation authority had “never before seen anything like this attempted” but reminded that the stunt “could have had serious consequences if something went wrong”.
“There are obvious risks associated with drones and that’s why we have safety rules,” Mr Gibson said.
“We haven’t yet determined if there has been a breach of drone safety but people need to be aware of drone laws and that fines for a breach of these are $1000 to $10,000. Serious breaches can result in prosecution.”
Mr Gibson said CASA was gathering details as part of its investigation, which would consider drone construction and operation.
Sam Foreman was the fisherman in the sky.The drone activity came to the attention of Coliban Water staff on a routine patrol of the reservoir on August 17.
At the time staff had informed the group the reservoir was temporarily closed to on-water activity while the reservoir was spilling but were informed they were “just planning to fly the drone”.
Coliban Water’s manager of community operations Mick Dunne said the behaviour was disappointing and staff had reported the activity to CASA.
“We are disappointed in the behaviour of those involved in this drone stunt,” he said.
“Coliban Water is responsible for the safety of visitors to our reservoirs and committed to being a good neighbour to those landowners who are adjacent to our reservoirs.
“The safe operation of drones is permitted around our reservoirs, as long as behaviour is in line with CASA requirements.”
Mr Dunne said fortunately there was “no significant damage noted from the activity, just minor litter left behind by the group”.
“There is significant cultural heritage at this location and fortunately, due to the reservoir being full, it was underwater and protected,” he said.
CASA will continue to investigate the incident to determine if the group will face any charges.