LASALLE COUNTY, Illinois -- Less than a week after its inaugural launch, the News Eight Drone (N.E.D.) had its first serious news-gathering mission: an aerial survey of storm damage over the towns of Ottawa and Naplate.
The LaSalle County towns were two of the most heavily damaged from a deadly outbreak of tornadoes, hail and severe weather that pummeled Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The late winter weather is being blamed for the deaths of two people
in Illinois - including one in Ottawa - and one person in Missouri.
On Wednesday, March 1st, N.E.D. flew over the damaged areas, unveiling debris, scraps, destroyed homes, vehicles, and more.
The National Weather Service has dispatched survey teams to assess and document damage.
If you'd like to see more footage from N.E.D.'s flight this morning, this Facebook Live archive video contains around 25 minutes of footage: