Drone comes dangerously close to Mass. state police helicopter

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2014, file photo, a drone is demonstrated in Brigham City, Utah. The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday, Dec. 14, 2015, that owners of many small drones and model airplanes will have to register them with the government, in response to increasing reports of drones flying near manned aircraft and airports. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts State Police are investigating after a drone came within about 100 feet of an agency helicopter, causing a potentially dangerous situation.

A department spokesman says the helicopter was passing over Lawrence Municipal Airport at approximately 600 feet at about 11:20 a.m. Wednesday when the crew spotted the drone approach from the side. The drone flew in front of the helicopter before suddenly dropping to the ground. Police said “a collision could have resulted in the drone breaching the flight cabin if it struck the aircraft’s windshield.”

The helicopter as well as cruisers on the ground unsuccessfully searched for the person flying the drone.

The helicopter landed safely.

Police say it is illegal to operate drones within five miles of an airport or at an altitude greater than 400 feet.