PetaPixel Storm Chaser Loses Drone Capturing Close-Up Footage of a Tornado


Apr 9, 2018
The World
Storm chaser Brian Emfinger was shooting aerial footage of a tornado near Yazoo City, Mississippi when it moved towards him and his drone. While the footage is incredible, Emfinger says the storm “nearly got” him, and his drone was lost.

Emfinger is a self-described extreme weather and storm chaser for as long as he can remember whose nterests include any form of severe or unusual weather. Emfinger has been the KATV Channel 7 photographer in Little Rock, Arkansas for the past three years.

“Besides storm chasing, lightning, meteor photography, and waterfall hunting, the other thing people seem to associate with me is flying drones,” Emfinger writes on his website. “I was one of the first people in the country to use drones (or UAS) for newsgathering. I used it primarily in weather-related news events like flooding and storm damage.”

Emfinger’s “crazy close” video, which was originally shared on Reddit, is the result of his drone getting caught in the tornado’s inflow, which eventually caused him to lose connection with it as the giant system cut off his connection.

Not on purpose… nearly got me lol

— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) May 2, 2021

“The tornado was catching me — I was near/underneath the drone — so unfortunately the drone didn’t make it,” Emfinger says. “The last shots it got are included here. Sound is from my controller I was holding and you can hear the tornado — that’s how close I was.”

Luckily he escaped and was able to share some of the incredible footage his drone captured before it was lost.

Emfinger recently returned from Iceland where he joined the thousands of people who have been enjoying the volcanic eruption there.

Wow! Iceland knows how to volcano. From tonight! #icelanderuption #icelandvolcano #iceland

— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) April 9, 2021

In addition to the photos he shared on Twitter, Emfinger also uploaded a 45-minute long video that is filled with some outstanding imagery of the eruption from various angles and was taken from different times of the day.

For more from Brian Emfinger, you can follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his YouTube Channel, follow him on Instagram, or visit his website.

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