Investigation underway after Air Force helicopter shot at from the ground in Virginia

Crewmember sustained 'non-life threatening injures' and was released later on Monday

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 12 August 2020 20:40
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A US Air Force helicopter was shot at while on a training flight over northern Virginia, which forced the airmen to make an emergency landing. One airman was reported injured as a result of the incident.

The helicopter, a UH-1N Huey, was flying a routine training mission on Monday before making an emergency landing at the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia, the Air Force said in a statement to The Hill.

"The aircraft safely landed and the incident is currently under investigation with local and federal authorities," the Air Force spokesperson said.

The injured airman was taken to a hospital and was later released. The details of his injury are currently unknown.

Both the FBI and the Air Force are investigating the incident to determine whether or not the helicopter was shot at intentionally or if someone had been shooting into the air randomly and hit the aircraft.

Officials at Manassas Regional Airport said a call came in around 12:20 p.m. informing them that "a military helicopter was inbound and that paramedics were on the way," according to an airport operations officer.

The pilots of the helicopter reported "a medical emergency" over the traffic control radio and determined it was heading "direct to Manassas."

Paramedics arrived at the airport to treat the injured crewman.

The helicopter was flying at 1,000 feet when it was hit by the bullet.

US military members have been killed more often in training accidents than in active combat in recent years, which has prompted legislators to examine current training protocols.

An Air Force spokesman gave a statement to Politico confirming the airman was injured as a result of the shooting.

"Initial findings are that the helicopter was struck by a bullet resulting in a minor injury to an aircrew member and damage to the aircraft," the spokesman said. "The aircraft safely landed and the incident is currently under investigation.

Joint Base Andrews - home to presidential aircraft Air Force One - released a statement saying the incident was under investigation and that no further details were likely to be released at this time.

"The Office of Special Investigations is fully engaged with our FBI colleagues on this incident. OSI takes threats to our Airmen and our resources very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation, no further investigative details can be released at this time," a spokesperson at the base said.

The FBI is asking that anyone who might have information regarding the incident call them at 202-278-2000.

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