Nova Scotia

Drone delayed helicopter's takeoff from crash scene

RCMP say a drone flew so close to a collision scene on July 17 in the Annapolis Valley that it delayed the helicopter airlifting an injured driver to hospital.

RCMP say the aircraft flew too close to the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Highway 101

An example of a unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone. (Francois Mori/Associated Press)

A drone hovering around a crash scene in Avonport, N.S., delayed the departure of a helicopter airlifting a patient to hospital earlier this week, RCMP say.

On July 17, emergency personnel were responding to a single-vehicle collision on Highway 101 near exit 9. 

The pilot of the LifeFlight helicopter tasked with transporting the injured driver became concerned a drone would interfere with takeoff, a police release said. 

"They come because people are seriously injured. Seconds count when somebody is injured," said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.

Safety, privacy issues

Firefighters and police were unable to find whoever was piloting the drone and eventually it left.

Clarke said there were privacy concerns on top of safety issues.

"We have no idea whether the drone was there flying recreationally and didn't really recognize they were interfering with our scene, or if it was someone trying to get pictures or footage from the scene."

Police continue to investigate and are still looking for information about who was flying the drone.

Police say a drone was flying too close to a helicopter waiting to fly a person to hospital. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Clarke said people could face charges under the Criminal Code and Aeronautics Act. 

Transport Canada forbids recreational drone users from flying within nine kilometres of a "disaster area" or anywhere that could interfere with police or first responders. 

Drones are supposed to stay at least 30 metres from people or vehicles. 

Drones are also supposed to be marked with the owner's name, address and number and the person piloting them is supposed to see the aircraft at all times. 

With files from Jerri Southcott