Los Angeles, Nov 20 (IANS) FBI agents have arrested man for crashing a drone into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.
According to a press release issued by the DOJ on Thursday, Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, flew the drone on the night of September 18, reports Xinhua news agency.
After crashing into the chopper, the drone fell from the sky and damaged a vehicle.
The drone damaged the helicopter’s nose, antenna and bottom cowlings, the DOJ said.
“If the drone had struck the helicopter’s main rotor instead of the fuselage, it could have brought the helicopter down,” it added.
Hernandez admitted to flying the drone, which was controlled by a device attached to his smartphone, to “see what was going on”, the DOJ said.
As the drone was ascending, Hernandez saw the drone “smacked” by the hovering police helicopter, and fell to the ground at a nearby residence.
“The case against Hernandez is believed to be the first criminal case in the nation alleging the unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft,” the DOJ noted.
Thursday’s arrest came during National Drone Safety Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration and seeks to promote drone safety.
The operation of an unmanned aircraft offence alleged in the case is a misdemeanor offence that carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison, according to local media.