The FBI is investigating after a drone hit a pair of Army helicopters over Staten Island earlier this week.
Army officials said that two Blackhawk helicopters, with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were damaged after coming in contact with the drone about 500 feet above Midland Beach just after dark on Thursday.
The impact dented one helicopter, cracked a window and damaged its rotor blades. It was enough damage, Army officials said, that the helicopters had to land in nearby Linden, New Jersey.
Steven Cohen, an area drone advocate, said he was skeptical that a drone could cause that much damage, but he said the drone operator did exactly what he advises against.
“We are trained and educated to avoid and literally turn away from manned aircraft,” he said.
Drones are banned in most parts of New York City, and restrictions are even tighter during the UN General Assembly. Flying at 500 feet is also illegal.
It’s not clear if any suspects have been identified in the case. No arrests have been made.