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Drone smashes through helicopter's windscreen and injures passenger

Two feet sideways and it could have been the pilot: report

A drone crashed into the windscreen of a helicopter being flown at low altitude and injured a passenger aboard the aircraft.

The Chilean Navy helicopter was reportedly being flown near the town of Santo Domingo, just south of Valparaiso in central Chile.

Pictures published by a local news website over the weekend (en espanol) show the damage, including a bloodstained facemask and a hole punched through the windscreen. Local reports said a front seat passenger, described as a mechanic, was treated in hospital after landing but was in “good health.”

Photos also showed what appeared to be the remains of the quadrotor, which likely weighed 750g. The brand remains unconfirmed at the time of publishing.

“The person responsible or owner of the drone has not yet been found, because they lack an inscription,” said a translated version of the article. In some jurisdictions, including the EU, it is now mandatory for drones over 250g to have a registration number applied.

Judging from the newspaper's snaps, the helicopter appears to be a Bell Jetranger, an old but common type in widespread use around the world.

In other drone collision news

An American man has pleaded guilty after his drone struck a police helicopter, causing its pilots to make a precautionary landing at a nearby airport.

US TV station NBC reported that Andrew Rene Hernandez, a 22-year-old from Hollywood, California, started flying his craft on 18 September last year “because he was curious after hearing a police helicopter and sirens.”

The police helicopter had been launched because of a burglary at a nearby pharmacy, according to court documents seen by NBC News. Hernandez is said to have admitted looking down at his controls before looking up again and seeing the drone get “smacked” by the hovering helicopter.

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour, which for readers outside of the US, is a type of crime regarded as less serious in American criminal law. ®

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