The F.B.I. and the U.S. military said Wednesday they were investigating the shooting of an Air Force helicopter this week during a routine training exercise over Northern Virginia that injured one airman and forced the crew to make an emergency landing.
The helicopter, a UH-1N Huey, was practicing an instrument landing near Manassas Regional Airport when it was struck by a bullet at about 12:43 p.m. on Monday, an Air Force spokesman said in an email.
The bullet was fired by someone on the ground, according to the F.B.I. Washington Field Office, which asked for the public’s help in solving who was responsible for the mysterious shooting and what led up to it.
The aircraft was about 1,000 feet above ground and 10 miles northwest of the airport, flying near Middleburg, Va., when the episode occurred, according to the Air Force spokesman, 2nd Lt. Myron E. McRae.
One crew member was treated at a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening and was released, the F.B.I. said. The authorities did not elaborate on the nature of the crew member’s injuries.
The Huey was damaged during the chain of events, according to the Air Force, which did not elaborate on the extent of the damage or what type of bullet hit the helicopter. The aircraft is part of the 1st Helicopter Squadron, which operates out of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
The squadron is known for its role in providing transportation for federal government and foreign dignitaries, as well as conducting evacuations and rescues. In 1957, the unit became the first helicopter squadron to fly an American president when it picked up President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the White House lawn, according to Air Force Magazine.
Middleburg is about 43 miles west of Washington, D.C. The town, which promotes itself as the “nation’s horse and hunt capital,” is known for its sprawling farms and wineries.