A Fox Sports executive attended the driver’s meeting prior to Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway to apologize to the drivers and their crews an NASCAR officials for the skycam malfunction at last weekend’s Coca Cola 600 which resulted in 10 spectators being injured, cars being damaged, and the race being delayed for 30 minutes while TV crews tried to clean up the mess.
“It was a great tool and it malfunctioned,” Artie Kempner said, according to ESPN. “The company is still working on trying to find out exactly what caused the situation.”
One of the nylon cables that keeps the camera in the air above the track snapped and sent the camera and remaining cables hurling towards the track and stands.
As crazy as it seems, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened at a sporting event—though given how young the technology actually is (it was first introduced by NBC at the 1985 Orange Bowl), maybe it’s surprising that these kinds of things don’t happen more often.
During the 2011 Insight Bowl between Iowa and Oklahoma, a skycam came crashing down on the field, nearly taking out Iowa quarterback Marvin McNutt. McNutt and another Hawkeye got tangled up momentarily in the cable, but there were no injuries as a result of the malfunction, which was shown during the telecast.
The only other recorded incidents include a 2007 NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints where the skycam made a “controlled decent” onto the field as a result of human error (no one was hurt, but this is the first known incident that resulted in the stoppage of a game), and the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl between Oregon State and BYU where the skycamera was taken down because of high winds.