WASHINGTON: A crew member of a US air force helicopter was wounded after the aircraft was struck by a bullet during a flight over a suburban area of Virginia near Washington, D.C., this week, a rare incident that has triggered an FBI investigation, the air force said on Wednesday.
The incident took place on Monday, when a UH-1N Huey helicopter was on a routine training mission near Middleburg, Virginia, and was flying about 1,000 feet above the ground, an Air Force spokeswoman said.
The helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing at 12:43 p.m. in Manassas, Virginia. One crew member suffered a minor injury and there was damage to the aircraft, the spokeswoman said.
“The Office of Special Investigations is fully engaged with our FBI colleagues on this incident,” she said, referring queries about the investigation itself to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. military helicopters regularly carry out training flights around the Washington area. The Huey was conducting an instrument approach into Manassas airport at the time of the incident and was about 10 miles northwest of the airport when it was hit by gunfire.
The Air Force did not disclose additional details, including whether the crew were able to identify rounds of gunfire or where the shots came from on the ground.
The helicopter involved in the incident was assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron, which has approximately 120 aircrew members, 22 helicopters and provides airlift for senior U.S. officials and dignitaries. It also assists with emergency medical evacuation, according to the Air Force.
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