FAA investigates after pilot drops turkeys on Arkansas festival

A young boy attempts to shove a turkey off a downtown tin roof on the Yellville square during the opening day of the 72nd Annual Turkey Trot Festival, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Yellville, Ark. During the first few hours of the festival, a few turkeys were released from downtown buildings with no sightings of the controversial figure known as the "phantom pilot," who in years past dropped turkeys from a plane. (Josh Dooley/The Baxter Bulletin via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration says it will check to see whether any laws or regulations were broken when a low-flying pilot dropped live turkeys onto an Arkansas festival over the weekend.

In this Oct. 7, 2016, photo, an airplane passes over the Yellville Turkey Trot in Yellville, Ark., while someone aboard drops a live turkey to the ground. The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, that it had an investigator at the fair in 2016 and that the pilot complied with the plan to drop turkeys away from a crowded area. Organizers are hoping that a “phantom pilot” won’t pass over the town this weekend and drop live turkeys, as has been done for decades. (Jason Ivester /The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

The annual Yellville Turkey Trot in northern Arkansas has included a turkey drop for more than five decades , though sponsors in recent years have distanced themselves from the practice.

Several birds were dropped Saturday and then chased by festival-goers below.

Local animal rights activist Rose Hilliard wants criminal charges filed against the pilot. She alleges the pilot “terrorized” the birds and violated state laws against animal cruelty and animal abandonment.

Festival organizers didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.

An FAA spokesman said Monday the agency was aware of the weekend flyover. In the past, the FAA hasn’t intervened because the birds aren’t considered projectiles.

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