THE Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter nearly collided with a drone on its way back to base - an accident that could have had "unthinkable" consequences.

The helicopter missed the drone by less than three metres, according to the service's chief pilot Steve Waudby, who said the drone was flying at an illegal height of about 1,300ft.

The incident happened at about 6.50pm on Wednesday.

Mr Waudby said it was only thanks to the vigilance of the front seat paramedic, who spotted the drone, and the rapid reaction of the pilot, that the crew avoided a direct collision.

He said: "The consequences don’t bear thinking about if a direct strike had occurred. We’d be telling a very different story today if it had.

“We cannot stress enough the seriousness of what happened last night to the crew of HM98.

"I would appeal to the operator [of the drone] to please come forward and identify themselves – we have a very clear description of what the drone looked like and it was very, very distinctive. The police have been made aware, as well as the CAA and the AAIB have also been notified. Again, I cannot stress the seriousness of what has happened.”

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