A cow elk knocked down a helicopter while its crew was capturing the animals for the state in eastern Wasatch County.
The Wasatch County Search and Rescue was called out to Current Creek in help the downed helicopter at 4:38 p.m on Monday.
The two-person crew was in the process of capturing the elk with a net when the animal “somehow jumped up and hit the tail rotor of the chopper,” according to a Facebook post from the search and rescue crew.
“This almost severed the tail rotor,” the post continued, and the helicopter crashed. “Not something you see everyday, when an elk brings down a chopper.”
Neither crew-member was injured, aside from a few small cuts and bruises.
But the elk died, said Tonya Kieffer, the conservation outreach manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).
The crew had been capturing the elk for a DWR project that involves studying the animals’ migration.
“This has never happened before,” she said.