The Police Eagle helicopter operations were suspended in the early hours of this morning after a very near miss with drones.
Shortly after midnight on 1 January, while flying over spaghetti junction at just under 1400 feet, the pilot spotted a drone flying in extremely close proximity to Eagle – within 10 metres – and as a result the pilot took immediate evasive action to avoid a serious collision.
At the same time there were thought to be two other unauthorised drones in the immediate vicinity.
The Pilot and crew were shaken after evasive action was taken. After the helicopter was checked over thoroughly the flight crew were interviewed by local Detectives.
The Eagle helicopter operations were suspended for the rest of their shift as a precautionary measure and to allow investigations to take place. Police will work closely with the Civil Aviation Authority.
Eagle is now fully operational as normal.
Inspector Jim Wilson, Acting District Commander Auckland City, said: “Our Police helicopter is responsible for saving lives and keeping our community safe. The actions of these people in flying a drone dangerously close to the Eagle helicopter is totally irresponsible and Police will investigate thoroughly.
“This could easily have ended in a tragedy and it is a worrying reminder of the dangers of flying drones near other aircraft.”
The incident marks what was otherwise a mostly well-behaved New Year’s Eve across the country.
Issued by Police Media Centre