Drone flying above suspected origin of Lahaina fires GROUNDED; operator immediately confronted by government agents

A licensed drone operator reportedly filming the suspected origin of wildfires that ravaged the island of Maui in Hawaii claimed his drone was grounded and government agents paid him a visit.

Fox News host Will Cain recounted the story of drone pilot Davin Phelps in a thread on X, formerly Twitter, on Aug. 21. The aerial photographer said he was prohibited from filming the suspected area where the fires began in the town of Lahaina.

Phelps showed Cain a video of the town devastated by fire, with the clip showing buildings largely reduced to ashes. Aside from the videos, the drone operator showed several still images that Cain described as "stunning and haunting."

The "Fox & Friends Weekend" host then recounted Phelps' story. "I don't want to feed ridiculous conspiracies but all I can do is tell you the truth. [The drone pilot] says he was hired by an attorney to fly his drone over the suspected area where the fire started," Cain tweeted.

"There is a no-fly zone over Lahaina. But as you can see from the footage, that hasn't stopped him from getting images of [the] town. But it was a different experience at the fires' origin."

According to Cain, licensed drone pilots fly through an app coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration. While the app can deny flight permissions and remotely ground drones, such instances are "very rare." He however noted that "when Phelps got to the suspected fire origin area, he was denied flight and grounded."

Cain continued that two government agents quickly visited Phelps and asked for his license. The pilot said the two, whose agency he did not remember, ran him off the parking lot of the Lahaina Intermediate School where he attempted to launch.

Phelps' story points to a government coverup

It appears that the suppression experienced by Phelps over the origins of the wildfires, the deadliest in the U.S. in over a century, points to a government cover-up. At least 115 people have been confirmed dead in the conflagration.

John Mills, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the Lahaina wildfires traveled so quickly that there was little chance for those fleeing to outrun it. He told ABC News' Whit Johnson: "This fire was moving like a freight train."

A report by the outlet put forward the possibility of downed power lines causing the catastrophic fires. Around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 8, a brush fire was reported in Lahaina – with firefighters managing to control it before 9 a.m. of the same day. However, it flared up again and proceeded to consume Lahaina.

Given the involvement of power lines, a class action lawsuit against Hawaiian Electric alleged that the electricity company "inexcusably kept their power lines energized" despite forecasts of high winds that could topple power lines and potentially ignite a fast-spreading blaze.

Meanwhile, Hawaii Electric said in a statement to ABC News: "At this early stage, the cause of the fire has not been determined. We will work with the state and county as they conduct their review."

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez said in a statement that an outside organization will investigate the state and county preparation for and response to the Maui wildfires. She added that the review is expected to take months.

"The information collected will be used to assess the performance in emergency preparedness as we are constantly looking for ways to improve," said Lopez. "We intend to look at this critical incident to facilitate any necessary corrective action, and to advance future emergency preparedness."

Hawaii State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, meanwhile, said the investigation will "ensure that all aspects of the incident, including any potential shortcomings in preparation, response and communication are thoroughly examined."

Watch activist Jason Jones confirming the cover-up of the total number of deaths from the Maui wildfires below.

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