A research helicopter has been brought down in Utah after an elk that it was trying to capture leapt into its tail rotor, killing itself in the process.

The AP is reporting that the chopper was brought down Monday afternoon near Currant Creek Reservoir, roughly 140 kilometres southeast of Salt Lake City.

Helicopter crash–2.2.18 Currant Creek Dam

Posted by Wasatch County Sheriff's Office on Monday, 12 February 2018

The helicopter was in the process of trying to capture the cow when it somehow managed to leap a good 3 metres into the air. According to KUTV,  statement from Wasatch County Search & Rescue included the somewhat intriguing detail that the crew was Australian:

The Australian flight crew was in the process of netting a cow elk, which jumped and hit the tail rotor of the helicopter. This almost severed the tail rotor and ended the flight of this chopper.

The statement went on to say that the crew escaped with only minor injuries, but the helicopter: “not so much“: “Not something you see every day when an elk brings down a chopper.

The researchers were attempting to capture her so that she could be sedated and given a tracking collar.

RIP noble Elk, your death was tragic, but extremely badass.

Image: Wasatch County Search & Rescue