Firefighters call off helicopter rescue after drone interferes

Responders were attempting to rescue a victim that fell 100 feet down an oceanside cliff

By FireRescue1 Staff

LOS ANGELES — Rescue crews were unable to complete a helicopter rescue after a civilian flew his drone too close to the area.

Initially, first responders were unable to reach a victim who fell 100 feet down an oceanside cliff Friday evening. The California Highway Patrol dispatched a helicopter to the scene. They lowered a paramedic down to the victim and were ready to hoist the two up when a drone was spotted, reported the Los Angeles Times

“Once the helicopter crew found out there was a drone on scene, they had to suspend the rescue operation and gain altitude to avoid a collision,” police said. “The drone’s operation could cause the helicopter to crash.”

North County Fire Authorities then rappelled down the cliff, secured the victim in a basket and hoisted him up. Officials said the rescue took two hours. 

Police cited Gerald Destremps, 55, with a misdemeanor charge of impending first responders at the scene of an emergency. Destremps admitted to operating the drone and permitted officers to confiscate it. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and public agencies have urged the public to follow laws and regulations when using drones. 

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