Super Bowl 2019 stadium pestered by drones, despite ban

Temporary flight restrictions are in place around Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. But apparently that's news to some drone operators.

Super Bowl LIII will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 
Rich Graessle/Getty Images

The FBI has already confiscated several drones for flying too close to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta ahead of Super Bowl LIII.

"#FBI Atlanta is reiterating the message that #ATLSB53 is a #NODRONEZONE after six were confiscated yesterday for violating the current TFR in place," the bureau's Atlanta field office tweeted Friday, referring to a temporary flight restriction.

Federal Aviation Administration flight restrictions, dubbed the "No Drone Zone," went into effect Thursday barring drone flights within a 1-nautical-mile radius of the stadium up to 1,000 feet in altitude. On game day, drones are banned from flying within a 30-nautical-mile radius of the stadium up to 17,999 feet in altitude, from 5:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. EST.

"Law enforcement is spending way too much time on drones, when those resources could be used for other security," said Kevin Rowson, public affairs specialist with the FBI in Atlanta, according to The Walton Tribune.

The FBI has a zero tolerance policy toward drone use in the No Drone Zone, said FBI spokeswoman Shayne Buchwald in an emailed statement. Drone operators who violate the flight ban could face fines and jail time.

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First published Feb. 1, 12:48 p.m. PT.
Update, 1:12 p.m. PT: Adds comment from the FBI.

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