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Drone Interrupts Honolulu Fire and Rescue Helicopter Operations

The Honolulu Fire Department was forced to delay the helicopter rescue of a hiker when a rogue drone interfered with the emergency operation. Officials were able to locate the operator and remove the device from the airspace.

(TNS) — Honolulu firefighters rescued a distressed hiker at Koko Head Trail this morning — and had to deal with a rogue drone that had reportedly interfered with the emergency operation.

The Honolulu Fire Department today said it received a call at around 11 a.m. about a 55-year-old man who was hiking near the top of the trail when he experienced a heat-related medical emergency.

HFD personnel walked up the trail and noted the presence of the drone to personnel in the fire department's Air 2 helicopter, which then left the area to avoid a collision.

Firefighters reached the hiker, conducted a medical assessment and brought him to a landing zone at the top of the trail via a rescue stretcher.

HFD found and told the drone operator to stow the drone, as it was interfering with the operation, the fire department said. When it was safe, Air 2 landed at the top of the trail to pick up the hiker. He was flown to a nearby landing zone, and care was transferred to the Honolulu Emergency Medical Services just before noon.

The fire department is reminding the public to keep rogue drones out of areas where they could delay rescue operations or strike an aircraft.

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