The FBI has opened investigations after a US Air Force helicopter was shot at, near Manassas, Virginia, injuring one of two pilots on board.
The UH-1N aircraft was flying 10 miles northwest of Manassas on a routine training mission at an altitude of 1,000 feet on Monday August 10, when it was shot by an unknown person, the US Airforce said.
The plane landed safely at Manassas Regional Airport west of Washington, DC, before the pilot was taken to hospital where he was treated and released.
The FBI and Air Force have now began investigations to find out if the helicopter was deliberately shot at or if someone was randomly shooting into the air.
The FBI says the aircraft will be closely inspected to check out for other damage.
The airport operations officer Richard Allabaugh reported its air traffic control tower was notified of an “an onboard emergency on a military helicopter that was inbound.”
“The pilots of the US Air Force helicopter, which identified itself as Mussel 16, can be heard reporting a medical emergency in air traffic control audio. The aircraft initially scrapped plans to land at Manassas Regional Airport then informed controllers it would be heading direct to Manassas.” The operations officer reported in his assessment.
“A UH-1N Huey helicopter assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews conducted an emergency landing at 12:43 pm on August 10th in Manassas, Va during a routine training mission,” a statement
by the US Air Force 316th wing read.
“The Office of Special Investigations is fully engaged with our FBI colleagues on this incident. OSI take 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,” it added.
The FBI, in it’s own statement, said:
“On Monday, August 10, at approximately 12:00 p.m., the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) dispatched Special Agents and its Evidence Response Team to the Manassas Airport after receiving reports that a helicopter was shot at from the ground nearby,” the FBI Washington Field Office said in a statement to CNN.
“WFO is working jointly with our law enforcement partners, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. One individual in the helicopter sustained a non-threatening injury, for which he was treated and subsequently released from the hospital The FBI asks that anyone near this area at the time of the incident who may have information please call the FBI at 202-278-2000,” they added.