Feds Investigating Helicopter Crash That May Have Involved Drone

A spokesperson for the NTSB confirms probe of an accident in which a pilot reported maneuvering to avoid an unmanned aircraft.

byKate Gibson| PUBLISHED Feb 16, 2018 6:03 PM
Feds Investigating Helicopter Crash That May Have Involved Drone

Federal officials are investigating the crash landing of a helicopter in South Carolina this week that could have been set in motion by a drone.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Friday that it had opened an investigation into an accident Wednesday involving an R22 helicopter on Daniel Island, near Charleston, South Carolina, NTSB spokesperson Chris O'Neil told The Drive

"The NTSB is aware of the pilot's report that he was maneuvering to avoid a drone, but the NTSB has not yet been able to independently verify that information," O'Neil said in an emailed statement.

An investigator with the federal agency is conducting interviews with the helicopter crew, with a preliminary report expected within the next few weeks, he added.

According to an account by Bloomberg News, a student was practicing low-altitude hovering when a small white drone came into view. The copter's tail hit brush or a tree when the pilot instructor took over the controls and tried to land, with the craft landing on its side, he reportedly told police. 

No one was reported hurt in the incident, which if it is determined to have involved a drone would be the first known crash of an aircraft in the U.S. related to the unmanned aircraft.