PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Police said they are investigating the pilot of a helicopter for reckless endangerment after he flew low amid the masts of sailboats outside Port Hudson on Thursday morning.
At about 6 a.m., several 911 callers reported a blue Robinson R44 II helicopter was flying close to boaters gathering outside the mouth of the marina for the Race to Alaska event, the police said in a news release. About 2,000 people were in the area to watch the start of the race.
“Witnesses reported the rotor blades of the helicopter were lower than the tops of some of the sailboats. The helicopter was described as having flown approximately 8- to 15-feet above the water. Several witnesses submitted their photographs and videos of the incident to the Port Townsend Police Department.”
Police officer Bill Corrigan identified the pilot as a 44-year-old man from Federal Way. The pilot, who has not been charged at this time, “said he was flying the helicopter for a television news crew,” the release said. “The pilot said the news crew was encouraging him to fly lower. The pilot expressed remorse for his decision to fly that low.”
Police released a video, taken by a witness and posted on YouTube.com. Police said it is part of their evidence in the case now.