Charleston helicopter crash blamed on drone; FAA investigating
DANIEL ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Federal authorities are investigating a helicopter crash that happened Wednesday near the southern tip of Daniel Island.
A Robinson R22 helicopter struck a tree and crash-landed Wednesday afternoon, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Kathleen Bergen.
Charleston Police met with the two passengers of the crash later that afternoon, according to an incident report.
The instructor told police he is a private helicopter instructor and was giving a lesson to a student pilot at approximately 3:30 p.m. While the student was practicing "low impact and hover taxi maneuvers" above undeveloped land on Daniel Island, they turned and saw a white "DJI Phantom quad-copter" drone headed into their airspace, the report states.
Police say the instructor took controls of the helicopter to avoid the drone and while attempting to land, the helicopter's tail rudder struck a small tree, causing him to lose control of the helicopter.
The instructor was able to land the helicopter on its rear landing skids but it turned over on its side, the report states.
The instructor notified the owner of the helicopter and FAA investigators.
The student told police they were about 50 feet above the tree line when the drone entered their fly space. She said when the helicopter struck the tree, several pieces of the helicopter hit surrounding brush causing the helicopter to turn on its side when it landed.
The FAA is investigating the incident.
No injuries were reported.
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