Drones being used to film road crashes have delayed the emergency response by Yorkshire Air Ambulance on several occasions, it emerged today (Monday).
Drone pilots have been warned not to fly near the helicopters after a spate of incidents.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said five Yorkshire Air Ambulance flights have been disrupted by the flying gadgets in the last 12 months.
It is illegal to fly a drone in a way that hampers the emergency services when they are responding to an incident.
Drone operators who see or hear any helicopter flying near them are advised to land their drone and let the aircraft pass.
The CAA has produced a video explaining how flying near emergency helicopters can delay ill patients receiving critical care.
CAA spokesman Jonathan Nicholson urged drone pilots to “use their common sense and fly safely.
“This is especially the case near emergencies where we have seen drones being used to try and film an incident cause a delay to air ambulance helicopters.”
Captain James Booth, a Yorkshire Air Ambulance pilot, said: “If we are going to an emergency and a drone is spotted then it potentially delays us getting critical care to a patient while we check where the drone is and what it’s doing.
“In many cases the people we are helping need expert trauma care as soon as possible and any delay in us reaching a patient or transferring them quickly to a hospital can have a significant impact.”
The prime guidance and rules that drone users need to follow in the UK are explained in the Civil Aviation Authority’s Drone Code.