Minnesota State Patrol co-pilot hurt after duck hits helicopter

helicopter struck by duck
A state patrol pilot is recovering after a duck went through the windshield of our helicopter. Around 10:15 p.m., state patrol flight was requested to assist local law enforcement in Wabasha County. While pilots were returning from the assist, the helicopter was hit by a duck.

The Minnesota State Patrol said one of its helicopter pilots was hurt after colliding with a duck midair last night. 

The State Patrol says the helicopter was dispatched on a law enforcement call to Wabasha County. As it was returning to St. Paul shortly after 10 p.m., the aircraft hit what the patrol said was a duck, which smashed through the left side windshield and hit the co-pilot.

The patrol said the pilot of the Bell 407 helicopter was able to keep the chopper in the air and land safely at St. Paul Downtown Airport, where that Patrol bases its flight operations.

The injured co-pilot suffered what the patrol said was a head injury that is not considered life threatening and was treated by paramedics and then taken to Regions Hospital near the airport. The State Patrol said the co-pilot was wearing his helmet and had his helmet-shield down when he was hit. The man, who was not identified, was treated and released. 

Photos posted to Twitter show feathers stuck to the interior of the helicopter, behind a shattered windshield. The patrol said experts were still assessing damage to the chopper and what it would take to get it flying again. 

“Bird strikes happen, most time they are not known until after the return of a flight. Birds coming through into the aircraft itself are not common,” Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Sgt. Jesse Grabow said.

There were no details on the fate of the duck. 

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