By Tara Copp | McClatchy DC
WASHINGTON – An Air Force helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing at a Virginia airport Monday after someone shot at it, injuring a member of the crew, local and military officials told McClatchy.
The UH-1N Huey helicopter is assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews. It was flying about 1,000 feet off the ground, about 10 miles northwest of Manassas Regional Airport when the incident occurred, the Air Force said in a statement.
The injured crew member, who was not identified, was treated at a hospital and released.
“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 Air Force said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.
The FBI “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’s Washington Field Office said in a statement.
Officials at Manassas Regional Airport said they received a call at about 12:20 p.m. alerting them that “a military helicopter was inbound and that paramedics were on the way,” said airport operations officer Richard Allabaugh.
A second airport official said the injured Air Force crew member was taken to a local facility for treatment. The helicopter remained at the airport as an investigation was launched into the shooting incident.
“The FBI Washington Field Office 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 said, asking that “anyone near this area at the time of the incident who may have information please call the FBI at 202-278-2000.”
Joint Base Andrews, which is home to Air Force helicopter and fighter squadrons and the presidential aircraft Air Force One, said it had no further details to release.
“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,” Joint Base Andrews said.