All other crew members were asleep at time of incident
Related video: Fully autonomous Black Hawk helicopter flies for first time with no pilot
A fatal crash involving two army helicopters that killed a soldier in Fort Stewart, Georgia last week was “not an accident” and criminal activity is suspected, according to a report.
Captain James Bellew, 26, was on medical evacuation duty when two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were involved in a crash at Wright Army Airfield on 30 March. He was found dead at the crash site.
The crash, which is being referred to as an “incident”, was “not an accident”, a source told Army Times on condition of anonymity.
Lt Col Lindsey Elder, a spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the service’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the crash, along with support from Army Combat Readiness Center safety experts.
The involvement of CID indicates that criminal activity is suspected in the crash, the report said.
“The initial indication is that all other crew members were asleep at the time of the incident,” Mr Elder said.
“At this point, we cannot address the manner of the damage to the two aircraft, timeline of events, or the response from the tower and emergency services, as those details are still considered part of the active investigation,” he added.
“No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
It is yet to be determined how Bellew was able to start the helicopter without waking up the other members of the crew or without the knowledge of staff that may have been on alert around the airfield.
Bellew, who was from Charlottesville, Virginia, joined the army in 2017 and served as a medical service officer. He completed his tour in South Korea before he was selected for the MedEvac pilot programme in 2019.
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in