RCMP helicopter and drone collided during Wet’suwet’en protests in northern B.C.: TSB report

Click to play video: 'Global exclusive: first reported mid-air collision between RCMP helicopter and drone'
Global exclusive: first reported mid-air collision between RCMP helicopter and drone
Global News has learned of the first reported mid-air collision involving an RCMP helicopter and drone and as Ted Chernecki reports, it's not the first time the Transportation Safety Board has investigated a crash between an aircraft and drone in Canada – Jun 8, 2020

An RCMP helicopter collided with a drone during the Wet’suwet’en protests in northern B.C. earlier this year, in only the second incident of its kind in Canada.

Global News has learned the incident took place Feb. 6 at 2 p.m., while RCMP were conducting patrols near Houston, B.C. during the protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Three people were on board the helicopter and a report from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said during a low-level flight, the helicopter collided with a FLIR SkyRanger R60 drone.

The TSB says the pilot landed on a road after feeling some vibration from the collision and the drone was destroyed.

This is a SkyRanger R60 drone that is used by the RCMP. This photo was taken in the same area on Feb. 8, 2020. Clayton Little / Global News

The helicopter suffered damage to the main rotor blades, along with superficial damage on the tail boom and tail rotor.

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No one was injured in the incident.

The TSB report does not state how the collision occurred.

This photo shows damage to the RCMP helicopter. Clayton Little / Global News

Feb. 6 was the first day of arrests during the pipeline protests and six people were arrested that day.

That same day RCMP also changed the access control checkpoint to a full exclusion zone, meaning no one was granted access who was not part of the enforcement team, with some exceptions for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and elected council members.

In total, 22 people in total were arrested between Feb. 6 and 10.

Last week, Crown counsel announced there will no charges laid against anyone arrested during police enforcement.

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The first collision between a drone and a passenger aircraft occurred Oct. 12, 2017, near Quebec City.

A drone collided with a SkyJet plane as it approached the airport. The aircraft sustained minor damage and was able to land safely.

All eight people on board were not hurt.

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