Drone pilots search for clues on why 19-year-old student Blaze Bernstein vanished – Orange County Register

Certified drone pilots are joining the search on Sunday, Jan. 7 for a 19-year-old college student who vanished in the Lake Forest area last week.

Blaze N. Bernstein disappeared after going to Borrego Park with a friend late Tuesday night, Jan. 2 to meet a third person. The person’s identity and the reason for the meeting wasn’t known, according to Bernstein’s family.

The pilots will comb the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park area on Sunday. An announcement posted Saturday night on a Facebook page titled “Help us find Blaze Bernstein” reads:

“Orange County 107 Drone Pilots: My friend’s son is missing, and I have been given a green light to plan an independent SAR mission for Part 107 FAA Certified Drone Pilots. Blaze Bernstein, 19, was last seen on Tuesday night at 10:30pm at Borrego Park in Foothill Ranch. OCPD has completed a dog search, human search, and a helicopter search.”

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 regulation was devised to integrate the use of drones into the National Airspace System.

The drone pilot who posted the announcement, Josh Friedman, also stated in the post, “I know that a lot of pilots want to help which is why I am only asking for 107 pilots following all 107 rules! You can fly any time of day. I am not coordinating times, so be aware that other pilots will be around throughout the day. If there is any police activity please cease flight, and you are responsible for you, your drone, and your surroundings. If you find something of extreme interest contact OCPD at 714-647-7000.”

On Saturday, a team of some 25 Orange County Sheriff’s Department reserve deputies  searched the area but did not turn up any clues.

Bernstein had been on winter break from the University of Pennsylvania and visiting family. He sent a text message at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday with his family’s address so a high school friend could pick him up and take him to the park to meet the third person, said Annee Della Donna, an attorney and family friend.

After the two arrived at the park about 10:30 p.m., Bernstein went off alone into the park.

Bernstein’s friend eventually began sending text messages to him when he didn’t return, but did not hear back from him, Della Donna said. The friend left and then returned at 4 a.m. to look for Bernstein again.

Eventually, the location device on Bernstein’s phone stopped functioning and the phone was turned off at 11:30 p.m., Della Donna said.

“He didn’t have anything with him,”…

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