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Visitor cited for deploying drone over no fly zone, officials stress importance of FAA rules

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HILO, Hawaii -

Another citation for an out-of-state visitor on the Big Island in a disaster zone.

A 38-year-old man from San Jose, CA was cited for loitering Tuesday night by a DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer.

A red light in the sky in Nanawale Estates was the dead giveaway to the DOCARE officer routinely checking barricades.  That's where the officer encountered Huawen Wu flying a drone in a restricted flight zone area.

DOCARE reports the man was on Nanawale Blvd., and then took Forest Road where he allegedly set up his drone at about 9:30 p.m. to get aerial photography of an active lava flow.

The Federal Aviation Administration will follow-up on the case, as Hawaii County and the FAA have placed a temporary flight ban over Leilani Estates with a five mile radius due to volcanic activity.

Emergency aircraft operations can be affected if unpermitted drones interfere with flight paths.

The only drones permitted to operate during the East Rift Zone Eruption are the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Hawaii Electric Light (HELCO) and the University of Hawaii-Hilo.

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