National

Drone crashes into World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle

Kyodo

A drone crashed into World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle on Thursday following a similar incident last year, local government officials said.

The small drone hit two parts of the main Daitenshu donjon and fell to the ground at around 12:45 p.m. Two groups of people preparing to fly drones had been seen at the castle site earlier, but their whereabouts were unknown, the officials said, adding no one was injured in the incident.

The Himeji city government in Hyogo Prefecture collected the drone wreckage and reported the matter to police, and is checking whether the 17th century castle, a national treasure and one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country, was damaged.

A guard saw a group of four people between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. and around 10 people between noon and 1 p.m. Both groups packed up their equipment after being warned, according to a city government liaison office at the site.

The police are investigating the incident on suspicion of a violation of the law regarding the protection of cultural assets and the Civil Aeronautics Act.

The drone crashed into a tiled roof on the southeast side of the 6th floor of the castle and hit the tiled roof on the south side of the 4th floor at a height of about 10 meters before going down in open space.

A drone crashed into the castle in September last year and a man from Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, was charged with violating the cultural properties protection law.

The Civil Aeronautics Act was revised after a drone was found on the roof of the Prime Minister’s Office building in April last year.

The law now prohibits unmanned planes from flying over places such as crowded residential areas or around airports without government permission.