Denver man's lost drone returned after flying away; equipment found, rescued by friendly neighbors

DENVER - A Denver man's $2,000 drone that flew off on its own Wednesday, was returned to him Thursday and he gave rewards to both of the people who helped him find it.

Loyal Merrick was flying his new drone, a "hobby" that he thinks could turn into a money-making photography business, when it drifted away so far that he couldn't see it anymore.

"I turned off the transmitter to bring it back home, because that's what it's designed to do," Merrick said. "And it appeared to keep going in the other direction. But actually, what happened was it came very close to where it originally took off. It was just a block away."

His drone has a built-in "boomerang" feature that defaults its location back to the starting point where it took off. In this case, that feature malfunctioned, but not as badly as Merrick originally thought.

A woman saw the drone, which had landed safely in an alleyway near her house, about a block away from where it took off.

"She thought maybe it was from the government," Merrick said. "So she didn't know what to do with it, but she went inside, and came back out an hour later and it was gone."

Another neighbor had noticed it and brought it inside. He couldn't operate the drone without the transmitter and was waiting for its owner to come and find it. 

The woman who saw it initially watched the 7NEWS at 10 report about the lost drone, and called Merrick. He was able to track down it down, and found it safe and dry inside the man's house.

"I'm glad," Merrick said. "I didn't want this thing out in the elements. It's sensitive electronic equipment."

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