(CNS): The line of a tethered kite, which was believed to be flying well over the legal height without permission, was struck by the police helicopter Friday, while the RCIPS Air Operations Unit was on patrol above the West Bay area. Although no serious damage was caused to the chopper’s flying capabilities, it sustained multiple scratches as a result of its entanglement with the fishing wire line and the swivel that was attached. Police said the incident is now being investigated as officers try to determine the kite’s owner.
Explaining the chain of events, an RCIPS spokesperson said the kite’s line had become entangled in the main rotor head of the chopper and snapped but the helicopter crew did not spot the kite itself during the flight. Immediately aware of the encounter with the line however, the crew completed emergency checks in accordance with their training and immediately returned to the airport and landed without incident.
“The crew were not injured, and a subsequent inspection by the helicopter’s engineers revealed the aircraft to be fully airworthy,” the spokesperson said. “It was returned to service at 5pm Sunday. The body of the helicopter sustained multiple scratches in the incident, which does not affect its airworthiness. This will be subject to ongoing assessment and costing for repair.”
The police added that under air navigation legislation, flying kites over 100 feet is prohibited without authority from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands, and no such permission had been given. Numerous warnings relating to such activity have been issued by the authority and the RCIPS.
The RCIPS has already notified the CAACI and a mandatory occurrence report will be submitted as part of the investigation. The government aviation insurers have also been notified.
Anyone who may have any information about this incident or has come across what appears to be kite debris should contact the West Bay Police Station at 949-3999. Anonymous tips can be provided directly to the RCIPS via the Confidential Tip Line at 949-7777, via the Miami-based call centre of Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(TIPS) or online here.