A $950 drone owned by Michigan's the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) was attacked by a bald eagle on July 21.
EGLE said in a statement on Thursday that the eagle "launched an airborne attack" on the drone 162 feet in the air.
The drone was damaged in the attack and plummeted into Lake Michigan near Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula.
A bald eagle flying over Michigan's Upper Peninsula took down a $950 government-owned drone, state officials said on Thursday.
The eagle "launched an airborne attack" on the drone 162 feet in the air, and damaging it so badly that it plummeted into the Lake Michigan, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) said in a statement.
EGLE said that the incident happened on July 21, near Escanaba.
Drone pilot Hunter King was mapping shoreline erosion in the region when his DJI Phantom 4 Pro Advanced came across the "brazen" eagle, the agency said.
King had just commanded his drone to return home after a reception outage when he saw its camera started "twirling furiously."
"It was like a really bad rollercoaster ride," King said in the statement.
When he looked up into the sky, his drone was gone but an eagle was flying in its place. A couple nearby confirmed to King that they also saw the eagle.
After hours of searching for his drone, King came up empty handed. Days later, EGLE Unmanned Aircraft Systems coordinator Arthur Ostaszewski used his kayak to search Lake Michigan, but had no luck either.
"I was playing Battleship and wanted to cover the entire board," he Ostaszewski said in the statement.
The team has yet to find the drone, but data from the device shows it fell into the water at 30 feet per second, or 20.4 mph.
"The attack could have been a territorial squabble with the electronic foe, or just a hungry eagle," EGLE said. "Or maybe it did not like its name being misspelled. EGLE's drone team is considering steps to reduce the possibility of a repeat attack, including possibly using 'skins' or other designs on the aircraft to make them look less like seagulls."
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