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Drone crashed, almost hit me, says Manhattan businessman

A businessman claims he is almost struck by a helicopter-like drone as it came in for a crash landing. Retrieved drone footage doesn't make things any clearer.

The footage that allegedly came from the drone. WABC-TV Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We soon will live in a world where drones are zipping around us like grasshoppers.

We won't stop to wonder what they're doing, because we'll have long discarded any notions of personal privacy. Perhaps we'll visit YouTube every night to see whether we've appeared in some drone footage that day.

A Manhattan businessman may not be looking forward to the future quite so much. He claims that on Tuesday evening a drone nearly struck him as it crash-landed near Grand Central Station.

As WABC-TV reports, the unnamed businessman said the drone was "helicopterish" in form and weighed around 3 pounds.

He said he retrieved a memory card from the wreckage, and the drone's recorded footage revealed that it had been flying perhaps 30 stories above the ground. The man added that the police told him the law had not been broken, even though his skull might have been.

The footage also suggested that the drone might have struck a skyscraper or two. Currently, no one seems to have accepted responsibility for the drone, and no one seems to have any idea what it might have been doing.

In March, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it clear that city dwellers could expect that drones would be flying above them and surveying their every move. He explained that a drone was no different from a surveillance camera. It was there to do good.

The mayor said: "What's the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building? We're going into a different world, uncharted. You can't keep the tide from coming in."

This all sounds very King Canute Gingrich.

However, surveillance cameras don't often fall on people's heads. They're mostly secured to poles and buildings.

Might there be a rethinking of strategy if drones begin regularly landing on unsuspecting New Yorkers who are too busy staring into their smartphones to notice that something might land on them?