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Wedding guests sue groom, say camera drone hit them

Commentary: In New Hampshire, a drone was allegedly too enthusiastic (or something) at a wedding.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Can drones at a wedding ever be a good idea?

MARCO VACCA, Getty Images

"How would anyone think that anything like that would ever happen on their big day?"

These immortal words were uttered by Barry Billcliff to the Boston Globe. And when I tell you the story of his wedding and the drone that put a slight dampener on it, you might have your reply at the ready.

Billcliff, you see, decided to have his drone help capture the whole event, which took place in August under a tent at Searles Castle in Windham, New Hampshire.

The accusation laid by a couple of the guests is that the drone rather lost its bearings and flew straight into their faces.

I already hear you muttering: "Was this a case of drinking and droning?"

There seems no evidence of this. Billcliff insists he wasn't piloting the drone at the time. He told the Boston Herald that it was a mutual friend of his and his bride's.

However, Kelly Eaton of Peabody and Kneena Ellis of Seabrook, New Hampshire have now filed a negligence suit against him and Searles Castle Event Management.

Ellis says she had a gash in her forehead that needed 20 stitches, and Eaton says her nose and orbital bone were broken and she suffered a concussion.

Their lawyer, Andrew LaCourse, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Scott Robb, vice president of Searles Castle Event Management, however, offered me this statement: "Mr. Billcliff was told by Searles Castle at Windham, with absolute certainty, that he was not allowed to fly a drone at the Castle due to our familiarity with the laws and zones around our property."

Robb says that Billcliff nevertheless flew his drone, was told to stop and did. Then, however, he allegedly pulled it out again. He says that management was informed, came out to remonstrate, but "unfortunately it was too late."

"Common sense says that nothing good could come of flying a drone inside our expensive tent that is draped with expensive fabric and has hanging chandeliers," he added. Drones and expensive don't mix too well.

Robb says that he doesn't believe his company bears any legal responsibility for what happened.

Drones have proved themselves a nuisance at many occasions where they might not be welcome. Everything from wildfires to private homes. A drone even knocked a pitcher out of a World Series game this year.

These flying gadgets need to be handled carefully.

But what, I hear you thinking, about Billcliff's bride? "She just got really mad at me and thought that I just completely ruined the wedding," Billcliff told the Globe.

This, therefore, is a story in which "I do" was swiftly followed by the obvious answer to Billcliff's initial question: "I would."