Drone attacked by bald eagle found on bottom of Lake Michigan

Posted at 5:30 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 17:30:50-04

A drone that was attacked by a bald eagle in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been recovered in Lake Michigan by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Bald eagle attacks state-operated drone in U.P, sends it to bottom of Lake Michigan

EGLE's Willful Eagle Trauma Team Engaged in Retrieval (WETTER) pulled it from the lakebed Tuesday afternoon at almost the exact GPS coordinates of its final transmission.

EGLE says the drone was resting upside down in the muck and missing a propeller, but otherwise showed little evident damage from the encounter.

The drone had been documenting erosion to the Lake Michigan shoreline to help residents and communities better cope with high-water issues when it was taken down on July 21 south of Escanaba.

"We wish we had a story where we located it with the sonar and the camera and pulled it up," said Brian Eustice, a geologist with EGLE. "But it was just right there. We couldn't believe we found it so easily." Eustice was joined in the successful drone hunt by EGLE geological technicians Mike Priebe and Brian Lower.

The drone damage report and SD card with video was driven to Lansing Wednesday where EGLE technicians will see if the lengthy submarine stint ruined the video. EGLE says there will be no footage of the eagle's assault. Because the drone was in "Return Home" mode, it was not recording at the time.