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Helicopter Has Near Miss With Drone In Central California

Cynthia Hotujec-Kantner / AP / File
 

Cynthia Hotujec-Kantner / AP / File

(AP) - Authorities say an air ambulance helicopter flying a patient to a hospital had to take evasive action to avoid a mid-air collision with a drone aircraft north of Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor tells the Fresno Bee the SkyLife helicopter owned by American Ambulance and Rogers Helicopters encountered the remote-controlled drone Wednesday afternoon about two miles north of the airport.

American Ambulance president says the copter was flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet when the pilot identified a drone flying directly toward them.

Flight nurse Vince Ellis says the drone appeared to be four to six feet long, and came within about 15 to 20 feet of colliding with the helicopter.

The FAA says encounters between drones and aircraft near airports have been an increasing problem.