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Man Tells Police Drone Crash at White House Was Accidental


Secret Service officers search the south grounds of the White House in Washington, Jan. 26, 2015.

A small drone crashed onto the grounds of the White House early Monday, prompting a lockdown of the complex while authorities examined it.

A man later came forward to say he was responsible, telling authorities he was flying the drone recreationally and accidentally lost control of the craft. Officials say the man is a Washington resident and is cooperating with law enforcement officials.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, were visiting India at the time of the incident, however, their daughters stayed behind in Washington.

Earlier, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said indications are that the drone "does not pose any sort of ongoing threat to anybody at the White House."

Drone debate

The Secret Service described the drone as a 61-centimeter quadcopter, a small, unmanned aircraft that is lifted by four propellers.

It said the drone was spotted flying at a low altitude around 3 a.m. local time (0808 UTC) before it crashed on the southeast side of White House grounds.

In a statement immediately following the crash, the Secret Service said an investigation is underway to "determine the origins of the commercially available device, motive, and to identify suspects."

The incident is likely to reignite debate about the use of commercial drones in the United States, as well as White House security. The Secret Service has come under scrutiny following several security lapses that have raised questions about whether the president is adequately protected.

Some material for this report came from Reuters, AP and AFP.