MARTINEZ (KRON) – A California Highway Patrol helicopter was forced to abandon a stolen vehicle search Saturday night after narrowly avoiding a mid-air collision with a drone, officers said.
Around 9 p.m. Saturday the aircraft was searching for a stolen vehicle on eastbound state Highway 4 in Martinez roughly 700 to 800 feet above the ground.
The flight crew noticed a red light outside the aircraft and the pilot took evasive action to avoid an imminent collision with the drone — which passed by at close range, according to officers.
The crew lit up the drone with a spotlight, then followed it back to Roux Court, where it landed. The Martinez police were called to contact the drone operator, who police identified.
That information will be forwarded to law enforcement agencies for possible prosecution, according to officers.
As the holidays are quickly approaching, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reportedly expects about one million drones to be given and received as gifts. Everything from very small quadcopters to larger drones capable of high altitudes and beyond line of sight flight.
Please remember that these drones, no matter what size, are a distinct danger to manned aircraft of all sizes. Please make sure that these drones are being operated at safe altitudes and in a safe manner. Make sure that children receiving these drones are mature enough and supervised while operating them.