Honolulu Police Chopper Hits Balloon

WAIPAHU (KHNL)--Repairs are underway to this police helicopter. Mechanics remove the blades to get to the damage. There is a hole in the main rotor box and a scratch on the tail cone.

"The police helicopter was engaged in pursuit of burglary, theft suspect when it hit the ropes that were supporting a moored balloon in Waipahu," said FAA Spokesman, Ian Gregor.

Flying at 500 feet, the HPD crew first noticed the balloon at about the same altitude. But during a chase they were looking down and didn't see it. The pilot needed to put the chopper down fast.

"The ropes from the balloon wrapped around the helicopter's rotor and the pilot made an emergency landing at the police academy which I understand is not too far from where the incident occurred. "

The helicopter dragged about 300 feet of rope.

Companies like Savers, use balloons to advertise. But the Federal Aviation Administration says anyone who floats a balloon more than 150 feet in the air has to file a report.

"Our air traffic control in Honolulu has no record of any report being made of a balloon in this area," concluded Gregor.

Savers could face a penalty for violating this regulation.