Air7HD, the ABC7 helicopter, was struck by a drone Wednesday evening over downtown Los Angeles, but its pilot was able to land safely.
The incident occurred around 7:15 p.m., but did not affect the helicopter’s ability to fly, according to ABC7.
“After some tense moments over Downtown LA…, Air7HD has landed safely following a midair collision with a drone which has damaged our tail,” pilot Chris Cristi tweeted. “Thankfully our crew is fine!”
A photo posted by Cristi showed a dent and scratches on the plane’s tail, as well as a small hole nearby.
“It was a scary couple of minutes not knowing what happened,” he said. “But it feels great to be back on the ground.”
Cristi said he and his crew initially thought they hit a bird, but once on the ground it was determined it was most likely a drone that struck the helicopter.
The Los Angeles Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident.
“This could have been a disaster & we are glad everyone is okay,” the LAPD tweeted. “Be a responsible and legal unmanned aircraft operator… know & follow the rules.”
The city of Los Angeles has an ordinance in place that prohibits flying drones within five miles of an airport, above 400 feet or in any way that interferes with an aircraft. The ABC7 helicopter was flying at an altitude of 1,100 feet.
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