I had just recently passed my remote pilot exam, and I was itching to take to the skies. I wanted my first drone outing to at least be somewhat purposeful and interesting, so I thought it would be fitting to document what was left of Picher, Oklahoma. Picher is an abandoned town located in the Northeastern part of the state. Toxic levels of lead, zinc, and other harmful metals litter the town and forced residents to evacuate years ago. The large mounds in the video are piles of excavated lead and zinc materials from subsurface mining. These piles are commonly referred to as “chat”. I know a good amount of people who played on these piles and swam in these rivers before it was known to be an extreme hazard.
This video is what we put together of our day. We were a crew of three. I flew my 3DR Solo drone to capture the aerial footage, my girlfriend Taylor was my visual observer, and Paxton used his Canon T5i to get the ground video.