FRESNO (CBS SF) — Pilots on board a medical emergency helicopter transporting a patient from the mountains to a hospital had to take evasive action when a drone flew right into their path near Fresno.

The startled pilot made a sharp turn just barely dodging the drone that was mere feet away.

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“It could definitely take down the helicopter. Things as small as a bird have taken down helicopters in the past, so depending on where it strikes us it could have tragic consequences,” Skylife Nurse Vince Ellis said.

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The rattled crew says this is the first time something like this has happened, but they are keeping an extra close eye out for drones from now on.

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By Gregg Rosenblum – Follow him on Twitter