Watch a Helicopter Hit a Dakar Rally Truck Mid-Jump and Barely Avoid Catastrophe

That’s a bit too close for comfort.

byPeter Holderith|
Racing photo

The Dakar Rally is one of the most dangerous races out there and has been since 1979, taking place everywhere from Africa, South America, and now the Middle East. The long-distance event has claimed many lives and even more machines, but this year's Dakar brought one of the strangest accidents we've seen happen during the course of the rally. And yes, it involves a helicopter.

Apparently trying to get the perfect view, a low-flying helicopter trailing a Kamaz race truck veered a bit too low and snagged an air intake off the top of the vehicle with one of its skids. It's unclear if the truck driver knew what was going on—he was probably deaf at this point—but the helicopter pilot definitely did. After briefly getting stuck, the pilot yanks the helicopter off of the truck, ripping up its intake in the process. 

"Anton Shibalov's car arrived at the finish line with a torn-open air intake on the roof of the body," said Eric Khairullin, of Shibalov's team. "It turned out that the organizers' helicopter hovered too low over the track and at some point, when the truck rushing at speed, threw it up, apparently, [hitting] a helicopter."

Galopin via YouTube

Thankfully, both the truck and the helicopter escaped the collision with only minor damage and no injuries. The truck was able to complete the rest of the stage, while the helicopter pulled off, likely to take a break from the close-ups. Dmitry Sotnikov, another Kamaz driver, went on to win the truck class later in the day after this incident.

In the video below, you can watch the entire collision unfold. It takes a seriously skilled helicopter pilot to get that low, but mistakes were made—we're only human. The pilot is lucky it didn't snag something more solid on the truck, or else the end result could've been much worse for everybody.

Here's to you, Mr. Helicopter Pilot.

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