leaping elk

A Leaping Elk Just Crashed a Helicopter

An elk leapt high enough to collide with a low-flying helicopter, causing it to crash. You can't make this stuff up.

A research helicopter flying low to the ground in the eastern part of Utah experienced problems when an elk it was observing lept and collided with its tail rotor.

The helicopter crew was flying at a very low altitude, about 10 feet off of the ground, in an effort to net the animal. The elk apparently jumped either in panic or to escape, but in doing so, it hit the small chopper.

Neither member of the two-man crew suffered injuries, but the collision did kill the elk.

leaping elk

Netting and placing tracking collars on elk is all part of the effort to follow migration paths. This kind of observation helps ensure the survival and health of the herd. The state captures around 1,300 elk every year, primarily using this same helicopter-netting procedure.

Apparently the Texas-based crew had launched a net, but it didn't go quite as planned. The pilot slowed enough, and lowered the aircraft enough to let one crew member attempt to corral the partially captured elk.

It was at that time the big animal collided with the tail rotor.

This incident was said to be the first of its kind in the greater effort to research these amazing wild animals.

Photos via Facebook/Wasatch County Sheriffs Office