Drone interfered with emergency scene, RCMP investigating

Avonport, Nova Scotia – On July 17 at 3:15 p.m., RCMP, EHS, and Wolfville, Hanstport and Windsor Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a single vehicle collision on Highway 101 near Exit 9. A small car left the roadway and as a result of the injuries to the driver, LifeFlight was called to attend the scene in the program’s Sikorsky S-76A helicopter.

The EHS LifeFlight helicopter landed on the highway, and while on scene, the pilot noticed a drone in the area. The drone caused concern due to its proximity to the emergency scene and at times, it flew too close to the scene, infringing on rescue operations. Firefighters and police personnel conducted immediate patrols of the area in an effort to locate the operator of the drone however, no one was located. The drone left the area and EHS LifeFlight was able to take off from the scene. The drone’s proximity caused great concern for emergency responders on scene.

Corporate Communications Manager for EHS, Jean Spicer says, “Any potential or real delay in patient transport is of great concern to our teams as every second counts, especially in the case of critically ill or injured patients.” She adds, “Drones can result in significant distraction for emergency crews, and an increased risk for aircraft, crews and patients on scene.”

Transport Canada’s rules for recreational drone users stipulate that drones may not fly:

  • below 90 m above the ground
  • at least 30 m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public (if your drone weighs more than 250 g up to 1 kg)
  • at least 75 m away from vehicles, vessels, and the public (if your drone weighs more than 1 kg up to 35 kg)
  • at least 5.5 km away from aerodromes (any airport, seaplane base, or areas where aircraft take-off and land)
  • at least 1.8 km away from heliports or aerodromes used by helicopters only
  • outside of controlled or restricted airspace
  • at least 9 km away from a natural hazard or disaster area
  • away from areas where operation could interfere with police or first responders
  • during the day and not in clouds
  • within your sight at all times
  • within 500 m of yourself or closer
  • only if clearly marked with your name, address, and telephone number

Using a drone in a reckless and negligent manner could lead to penalties under the Aeronautics Act and Criminal Code, which could result in fines and jail time. To report a drone incident: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/report-drone-incident.html

Drone operators are reminded that they are assuming considerable responsibility when flying a drone. The RCMP is continuing to investigate and would ask that ask that anyone with information about this incident contact Kings District RCMP at 902-679-5555. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can also contact Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or text TIP202 + your message to ‘CRIMES’ (274637) or submit tips by Secure Web Tips at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca. Calls to Crime Stoppers are not taped or traced and if police make an arrest and lay charges based on a tip, callers qualify for a cash award.

Nova Scotia RCMP

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