Sunday, December 06, 2015

Incident occurred December 05, 2015 in Martinez, Contra Costa County, California

A California Highway Patrol helicopter narrowly avoided a drone hovering above Contra Costa County on Saturday, letting a stolen vehicle escape and perhaps landing a Martinez resident in a lot of trouble.

No arrests were made after the near miss, but CHP officer James Andrews said in a statement that the police report will be forwarded to federal and local agencies for review and possible prosecution. 

The helicopter crew also made contact with Buchanan Field Airport traffic controllers and the Federal Aviation Administration.

For now, the person operating the drone remains unidentified.

The drone landed on Roux Court in Martinez, where the operator picked it up, according to Andrews.

Martinez police contacted the drone operator there.

The chopper crew encountered the drone while tracking a stolen vehicle above Highway 4.

As the crew tracked the vehicle, which was going east, the pilot saw a red light outside flying near the same altitude of 700 to 800 feet, Andrews said.

Once the crew determined it was a drone, the pilot maneuvered hard right to avoid a collision. 

The CHP craft H-32 helicopter then circled around and followed the drone with its spotlight until it landed.

The stolen vehicle never was captured.

According to Andrews, the Federal Aviation Administration expects about one million drones to be given and received as gifts during the holiday season. 

All drones, no matter their size, are dangerous for a manned aircraft and should not be flown anywhere near them, Andrews said.

Original article can be found here:

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