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Helicopter pilot fined after buzzing herd of elk


Witnesses say pilot Owen Park flew his medical transport helicopter at treetop level and below the rim of a canyon near Grand Junction, Colo., in late September, scattering a herd of elk in all directions. Park was fined $200 by the state’s hunting division and had his hunting privileges docked, though it is unknown if the FAA has pursued any action. Park’s helicopter wasn’t carrying a patient at the time of the incident but did have a medical crew on board. The crew was flying back to the helicopter’s base in Page, Ariz., after dropping off a patient in Grand Junction. Park told authorities that he was just trying to get a better view of the wildlife and didn’t realize that he was disturbing them. Hunters who had been tracking the elk complained about Park’s helicopter, which was flying low enough that they were able to record the aircraft’s tail number and pass it on to hunting officials. The helicopter is owned by a Utah company which operates Classic Lifeguard Air Medical.