On Wednesday, Pentagon officials shared that an Air Force helicopter was shot at from the ground and forced to make an emergency landing in Virginia, per The Hill. One crew member was injured as a result of this incident. Officials are currently working to identify exactly how this situation occurred.
The aircraft, which is a UH-1N Huey helicopter that has been assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, was on a routine training flight on Monday. It was forced to make an emergency landing on Monday afternoon at Manassas Regional Airport in northern Virginia. The base told The Hill in a statement: "The aircraft safely landed and the incident is currently under investigation with local and federal authorities." Joint Base Andrews, which is located in suburban Maryland, is home to the presidential aircraft Air Force One.
The crew member who was injured was transported to the hospital and later released. The FBI Washington Field Office (WFO), along with local law enforcement, is investigating this matter. "WFO is working jointly with our law enforcement partners, including the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident," the FBI shared in a statement. "One individual in the helicopter sustained a non-threatening injury, for which he was treated and subsequently released from the hospital."
According to CNN, the FBI and the Air Force are trying to determine whether the aircraft was shot at deliberately or if someone was randomly shooting into the air. Following this incident, the helicopter will be closely inspected for other damage. Richard Allabaugh, the airport operations officer, said that its air traffic control tower was notified about "an onboard emergency on a military helicopter that was inbound." In air traffic audio from the incident, the pilot of the helicopter, which identified itself as Mussel 16, can be heard reporting a "medical emergency." They initially planned to make an emergency landing at Manassas Regional Airport and then decided instead to go "direct to Manassas." Paramedics were subsequently called to the scene.
"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," the US Air Force 316th wing said in a statement. "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."