A chief helicopter pilot is fuming over the reckless behaviour of a drone operator.
Police are investigating a person who was seen flying a drone near the Dunedin Hospital helipad as a helicopter was coming into land last night.
Otago Rescue Helicopter chief pilot Graham Gale said the consequences could have been catastrophic with the drone coming as close as 7 metres to the chopper.
"We were bringing a patient into hospital and about 7 metres away there was a drone which had a red light on it. It was in extremely close proximity to the helipad itself."
Gale said it is incredibly dangerous considering the speeds they are travelling in the helicopter.
"We are travelling at very fast speeds, about 2 miles a minute and we are covering a lot of ground quickly.
"The drones are very small and we have no way of seeing it. Absolutely dumb on dumb from the idiot who was flying it."
The Civil Aviation Authority has been made aware of the incident and is hoping to investigate if more information about the drone operator can be uncovered.
Deputy Chief Executive Dean Winter said the incident highlighted the importance of drone users following key Civil Aviation Rules which were designed to keep them and other people safe.
"Its crucial that drone operators share the skies safely with other aircraft, so it's disappointing to hear of last night's incident.
"One of the most important rules for drone users is to stay more than 4km away from aerodromes to help keep other aircraft safe when they take off and land."
The rule covers helipads at most hospitals, including Dunedin Hospital, as well as larger and more obvious aerodromes such as Dunedin Airport.
"It can be difficult for our teams to investigate incidents like this if the drone operator can't be identified, so we would greatly appreciate any information the public has about this incident."
• Anyone with information about the incident or any other drone incident should contact the inwards safety information team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A police spokeswoman said they were notified of a drone near the Dunedin Hospital helipad at 6.40pm on Wednesday.
A Kingsgate Hotel guest said they saw the drone being flown nearby before landing on a balcony of one of the rooms.
They said it looked like the culprit was a very skilled drone operator.
The guest has informed the hotel of what they saw and contacted police.
The Kingsgate Hotel has been approached for comment.