Elk Leaps Into Tail Rotor, Takes Down Helicopter

Two people suffered minor injuries, and one elk died, in a freak accident that was part of a planned activity by Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources.

elk crashes helicopter
Photos courtesy of Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office

Rescue crews in Wasatch County, Utah, had to figure out how to remove a downed helicopter after an elk caused it to crash in a field Monday afternoon.

Surprisingly, the two-man crew aboard received only minor injuries, according to the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office. News of the incident broke on the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Facebook page, which confirmed a downed helicopter.

elk crashes helicopter

But the story took a bizarre twist hours later when reports rolled in that an elk had leapt into the tail rotor, severing it and downing the aircraft.

Elk Downs Helicopter in Utah

The incident occurred near Currant Creek Reservoir, about 30 miles east of Provo.

According to KUTV in Salt Lake City, the DWR contracted an Australian flight crew to net the elk, sedate it, and collar it for further biological study.

elk crashes helicopter

After the crash, the DWR confirmed the elk died and said it would “review the incident and make any changes necessary” in future collaring protocols, according to the report.

According to multiple news outlets, Wasatch County Search and Rescue was on the scene and posted to its Facebook page, “Not something you see every day when an elk brings down a chopper.”

The post was taken down.

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Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.