Some Jerk Almost Crashed Their Drone Into A Medical Chopper Carrying A Patient
A helicopter transporting a patient to a hospital had a near miss with a drone, coming within 20 feet of a potential airborne disaster.On Wednesday afternoon, around 1 p.m., a SkyLife helicopter carrying a snakebite patient to Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center encountered the unmanned vehicle coming right at them. Flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet and only two miles from Fresno Yosemite International Airport, the pilot of the air ambulance had to make an evasive maneuver in order to avoid a crash.
"We were coming back from a mission with a patient on board when the pilot noticed an object that we identified as a drone," Vince Ellis, a flight nurse on the helicopter, told the Fresno Bee. "The pilot... made a controlled turn—it wasn’t a heavy bank—and was able to avoid the drone."
"It went just below our rotors. It was pretty close."
The drone was described as four to six feet long, and was definitely violating FAA rules. Drones are not allowed above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport.
Chris Geiger, a drone (or "UAV," short for unmanned aerial vehicle, as he prefers) enthusiast says his fellow drone operators should know better. "It's like driving down the road, seeing an ambulance in your rearview mirror and nobody is pulling over," he told ABC 30.
The pilots reported the drone to the tower at Fresno Yosemite International and Fresno police are now searching for its operator. Drone operators face fines for endangering other aircrafts or people.
The patient was dropped off safely at the hospital.