While flying over downtown Los Angeles, a news helicopter was struck midair by an object, believed to be a drone had to make a precautionary landing. The pilot and reporter Chris Cristi heard and felt a bang as an object struck the tail of the chopper, the KABC chopper was flying over downtown. It was around 7:15 P.M on December 4, 2019, at about 1,100 feet above. However, the helicopter’s ability to fly wasn’t affected but the pilot landed as a precaution.

“We were flying just east of downtown LA and we heard this pop, a loud bang,” Cristi said. “We felt it, we heard it. We all looked at each other. We didn’t really know what it was. We just assumed it was a bird because that happens every once in a while. When we got on the ground, though, it was a different story.”

There were several photographs also taken of the helicopter and dents and holes are visible in several spots on the helicopter.

Los Angeles helicopter struck by drone
A Los Angeles news helicopter struck by an anonymous drone

The Investigation

“It was a scary couple of minutes not knowing what happened,” Cristi said. “But it feels great to be back on the ground.” The person who was operating the drone is not immediately known yet. There was an investigation launched of the incident by Los Angeles Police Department officials.

A helicopter and a ground crew were sent out to look for debris.”This could have been a disaster & we are glad everyone is okay. Be a responsible and legal unmanned aircraft operator…know & follow the rules,” LAPD tweeted. There is an ordinance of Los Angeles containing several regulations and laws which prohibit flying drones within five miles of an airport, above 400 feet elevation or in a way that interferes with manned aircraft. Furthermore, it is also stated that drones cannot be operated beyond the unassisted line of sight of the operator.

Drones have proven to be extremely disastrous when flying in the vicinity of aircraft. A small drone like the Phantom can cause fatal damage to both the aircraft and the people inside it. Several times in the past, entire airports have been stalled just because a drone was spotted near the runway.

Los Angeles helicopter struck by a drone