Drone pilot accused of obstructing Wanaka firefighters named

The man accused of flying a drone near helicopters fighting a fire in Wanaka has been named. 

Jorge Eduardo Riquelme Cruz, 33, appeared before Judge Mark Callaghan in the Queenstown District Court on Monday afternoon.

The Chilean tourist was arrested on January 3, after he allegedly flew a Mavic drone near eight helicopters fighting the fire that engulfed part of Roys Peak near Wanaka.

The aircraft had to be grounded for 15 minutes, because of the drone pilot's actions, police say.

He was charged with operating an unmanned drone in a manner causing unnecessary danger to fire-fighting pilots and their helicopters, and with reckless disregard for the safety of fire-fighting helicopters, likely to cause danger to the pilots and aircraft.

He was remanded on bail without plea until January 29.