Leaping elk crashes low-flying research helicopter in Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Authorities say a leaping elk brought down a research helicopter trying to capture the animal in the mountains of eastern Utah.

Wasatch County authorities say the elk jumped into the chopper’s tail rotor as it flew about 10 feet (3 meters) above ground, trying to capture the animal with a net.

The two people on board weren’t seriously hurt, but wildlife officials say the elk died of its injuries.

The state-contracted Texas-based crew was trying to capture and sedate the elk so they could give it a tracking collar and research its movements about 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Salt Lake City.

Mark Hadley with the state Division of Wildlife Resources says the state helicopters are frequently used to monitor remote wildlife and this is the first such accident in Utah.

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This story has been corrected to show the helicopter crew was based in Texas, not Australia.

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