1 Crew Member Hurt After Bullet Strikes Air Force Helicopter Over Virginia

UH-1 Hueys over Washington D.C. during opening ceremonies of the Joint Base Andrews Air & Space Expo.
Members of the 1st Helicopter Squadron fly in UH-1 Hueys over Washington D.C. during opening ceremonies of the Joint Base Andrews Air & Space Expo, May 10, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/2nd Lt. Jessica Cicchetto)

An Air Force helicopter made an emergency landing in Virginia this week after one of its crew members was injured when someone shot at the aircraft, government officials confirmed.

A UH-1N Huey with 1st Helicopter Squadron was on a routine training mission Monday when its crew was forced to make an emergency landing in Manassas at 12:43 p.m., according to a statement from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where the aircraft is based.

"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," says the statement on the incident, which was first reported by McClatchy. "The aircraft safely landed, and the incident is currently under investigation."

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The FBI's Washington Field Office dispatched special agents and its Evidence Response Team to the Manassas Regional Airport, where the Huey landed, immediately after reviewing reports that a helicopter was shot at from the ground nearby, the agency said in a statement.

The FBI is working with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations on a probe into the incident.

"One individual in the helicopter sustained a non-[life]threatening injury, for which he was treated and subsequently released from the hospital," the statement adds. "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."

Airport officials received a call at about 12:20 p.m. Monday, alerting them that the Huey would be making an emergency landing and that paramedics were on their way, McClatchy reported.

The helicopter, the outlet added, remains at the airport as federal agents investigate the shooting incident.

In March, a woman was arrested in Virginia after being accused of using strobe lights to distract military pilots. The woman had been observed by Naval Criminal Investigative Service personnel using a garden rake with multiple lights attached to it to point at planes.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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