'It could have been a catastrophic incident,' CMPD says of drone near helicopter

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s helicopter, Snoopy, nearly hit a drone Wednesday night while it was flying over uptown Charlotte.

The helicopter was flying near BB&T Ballpark just before 9 p.m. when the pilot spotted the drone dangerously close.

"This one last night came within about 20 laterally from striking the helicopter," Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Sgt. Kenneth Anderson.

Anderson said the pilot took evasive action to avoid the collision that could have been disastrous.

"Had the drone struck the helicopter at that speed, at that velocity, it could have been a catastrophic incident for us," Anderson said.

The drone operator violated several regulations, including flying after dark, flying at about 600 feet and was within what is called “Class B” airspace, which is within five miles of the airport.

[READ: FAA regulations on drones]

Officers said there is no video of the close call, and they have even checked some of the uptown cameras.

They're hoping they're able to identify who was flying that drone and if so, that person could face charges.

CMPD is asking anyone with information about the drone pilot to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

This isn’t the first time someone flew a drone near the police helicopter.

Officers were pursuing someone in March 2016 in east Charlotte when they saw a drone take off and fly close to the helicopter.

[RELATED: Man accused of flying drone in path of CMPD helicopter]

Investigators said Christopher Baucom was listening to police scanners and intentionally launched his drone in order to videotape the police chopper.

Baucom was arrested and charged with interference with manned aircraft by unmanned aircraft system and resist.

Police said there’s concern that the drone could have caused the helicopter to crash.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: