A Westpac Rescue helicopter narrowly avoided a collision with a drone while it was flying back to its Newcastle base in New South Wales over the weekend.
The helicopter crew spotted the unmanned aerial vehicle at an altitude of about 1,000 feet when it was returning from John Hunter Hospital at about 10pm on Saturday night, The Newcastle Herald reported.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesperson Glen Ramplin told the Newcastle Herald at first the crew thought the lights belonged to a larger plane further away.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the drone turned and tracked towards the helicopter, forcing the crew to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
Drone pilots are not allowed to operate above 400 feet without approval.
Ramplin said the pilots have noticed an increase in the number of UAVs in the air.
“We’ve seen quite a few [drones] around but this one was at quite a height,” he said.
“If you had run into it, it could [have been dangerous].”
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