The police helicopter on Friday struck the line of a tethered kite flying more than 400 feet in the air, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reported.
According to police, the helicopter was in the West Bay area when the line of the kite, which police described as a fishing line with a swivel attached, became entangled and snapped in the helicopter’s main rotor head.
“The kite itself was not seen by the helicopter crew during the flight,” according to an RCIPS statement issued Monday.
“The crew of the helicopter were immediately aware of the encounter with the line and completed emergency checks in accordance with their training. They immediately returned to the airport and landed without incident,” the statement said.
None of the crew was injured, police said.
An inspection by the helicopter’s engineers revealed the aircraft to be fully airworthy and it returned to service at 5 p.m. 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 statement said.
Meanwhile, West Bay officers are trying to identify the kite’s owner.
According to police, the flying of kites higher than 100 feet is prohibited under Air Navigation legislation without authority from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands. No such permission had been given in this case, police said.
“Numerous warnings relating to such activity have been issued by the Authority and the RCIPS,” the police statement said. Following Friday’s incident, the RCIPS immediately notified the Civil Aviation Authority and a mandatory occurrence report will be submitted as part of the investigation. The RCIPS is also in communication with the government’s aviation insurers.
Anyone who may have 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 a Confidential Tip Line at 949-7777 or via Crime Stoppers at 800-8477(TIPS).