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FBI Arrests Man Accused of Crashing Drone into LAPD Helicopter, Forcing Emergency Landing

By Steve Neavling

FBI agents arrested a 22-year-old Hollywood man accused of recklessly operating a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter and forced it to make an emergency landing. 

Andrew Rene Hernandez was charged last week with a misdemeanor charge of operating an unmanned aircraft, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. 

The LAPD chopper was providing air support on Sept. 18 while officers responded to a burglary call at a pharmacy in Hollywood. 

“As the helicopter approached the pharmacy, the pilot saw the drone and attempted to evade the unmanned aircraft,” the Justice Department said in a news release. “Despite the evasive efforts, the drone stuck the helicopter, forcing the pilot to initiate an emergency landing. The drone damaged the helicopter’s nose, antenna and bottom cowlings.”

According to the complaint, the collision could have been deadly.

“If the drone had struck the helicopter’s main rotor instead of the fuselage, it could have brought the helicopter down,” the complaint reads. 


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