An elk has caused a helicopter crash during a delicate wildlife research operation in Utah after it spooked and jumped into the aircraft's back rotor blade.
KUTV reports a two-man crew was trying to net and sedate the elk so they could put a tracking collar on it to study its movements.
However, during the netting process, the elk jumped and hit the tail rotor of the aircraft, causing it to crash to the ground.
The elk was killed in the accident, but Westland County Search and Rescue said both occupants of the chopper avoided serious injuries.
"This almost severed the tail rotor and ended the flight of this chopper," a Westland County Search and Rescue spokesperson said on Facebook.
"The two people aboard the chopper are okay except a few small cuts and bruises. They were both checked out by Fruitland EMS.
"As for the chopper - not so good. Not something you see every day when an elk brings down a chopper."
Tonya Kieffer from the Northeast Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says they will be reviewing the incident to ensure it does not happen again.