It’s totally the elk’s fault. The helicopter pilot cannot be faulted for not having considered the leaping range of an elk under attack of violently swirling rotors.

The elk should have known better than to leap towards the chopper and cause it to crash. Anyone who has spent any time around helicopters knows to keep clear of the tail rotor. Someone apparently forgot to make that clear to Mr. Elk.

Associated Press via Billings Gazette:

The crew had launched a net it catch the animal, but when that didn’t immediately work the pilot started to slow down so someone could jump out and hobble the elk, Hadley said. As the helicopter slowed down, the elk collided with the rotor, Hadley said.

The helicopter was damaged on its tail rotor, right skid and underside, Rigsby said.

State officials will review the incident that appears to have been a fluke accident, Hadley said.