Mohawk student won’t face liability from broken drone

It took eight stitches to close the wound on Prof. Brian Willrich’s arm after a drone accident two weeks ago. The incident occurred when a second-year television and broadcasting student crashed a Sixasis quadcopter into the DBARC bleachers during his media and aviation course. Willrich went to retrieve the drone after the crash and cut his arm on the still-spinning propellers.

Although the damage to Willrich is healing, the question remains as to how the damage to the drone will be fixed. During the crash, one of the drone’s propellers was broken, but Willrich says the main concern will be the state of the camera, which no longer functions.

“The repairs could be $20 or up to $600 if the whole camera has to be replaced,” he said.

Willrich explained how Mohawk College handles accidental damage costs that happen when students are using equipment.

“We don’t typically charge students if it was an accident and I would consider this to be more of an accident,” he said. “If the student was negligent and mishandled equipment poorly or something, then they would have to absorb some of the cost, but in this instance, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Associate Dean of Media and Entertainment Kurt Muller elaborated on student liability after accidental damages.

“We have a budget for equipment,” he said. “It’s not unusual for equipment to be damaged – that happens all the time. A student drops a camera for example, that happens at least monthly.”

When asked whether the student would be liable for the damages in this case, Muller said no.

Even though the college plans to cover the damaged drone, Willrich says that major changes could occur regarding how professors conduct the media and aviation course. He says instructors may have to show students how to fly without giving them the hands-on time they previously received.


About the author  ⁄ Sam Houpt

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