A 1-year-old boy had to receive stitches to his face after he was struck by a wayward drone while playing at a local park, and police have since fined the device’s operator.
On July 24, Cassandra Roberts was sitting in the swings of Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf, Iowa, with her son, Atticus, when a drone fell from the sky and plunged into the boy’s face.
“You hear their drone swoop over to the swings,” Roberts told KWQC. “It was a good sized drone and it had the four different propellers.”
Young Atticus was left bleeding from his cheek and lip after the crash.
“I would think my kid falls off the playground before he gets hit with a drone,” Roberts said.
Though the drone’s operator rushed over to apologize for the incident, Roberts left without getting their name and rushed to get Atticus to Trinity Bettendorf Hospital for treatment. Once there, Atticus received five stitches to his face — two to his lip and three to his cheek.
“He’s pretty tough, but not tough enough for a drone,” Roberts, who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, told WTHR.
Drones have become more advanced and accessible over the last decade, and as an increasing number of hobby filmmakers use them to capture often stunning videos of incredible landscapes, the drones have also caused major problems when operators lose control of them or use them in an unsafe manner.
Over the years, the Federal Aviation Administration has passed many restrictions regarding what drone operators can do with their devices and where they can fly them.
“If you’re going to operate them, you need to operate them in a safe manner away from individuals and make sure you’re in compliance with whatever local ordinances are out there,” Bettendorf Police Department Cpt. Justin Paul told the outlet.
According to the Des Moines Register, drone operators in Bettendorf must ask the city for permission before taking their machines to the skies.
On August 6, the department announced in a Facebook post that the drone operator had been identified. They paid $160 fine, according to the Register, along with a $75 civil penalty to the city and $85 in court costs. The department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“It’s upsetting that it happened, but at the end of the day it happened and nothing can change it,” Roberts told the newspaper. “Nothing can fix it.”
Though the Register reports that recent pictures show Atticus is recovering, Roberts remains frustrated that the incident even occurred.
“It makes me sad to look at him every day, because as a mom, you want to protect your kids,” she told the Register. “You never want them to experience pain.”