The US military is investigating whether a crash involving two Black Hawk helicopters at a Georgia airfield last month was carried out intentionally by a medical evacuation pilot.
Capt. James Bellew, 26, was on medevac duty March 30 at Wright Army Airfield, a dual-purpose airport between Fort Stewart and the town of Hinesville, Georgia, when two HH-helicopters 60 Black Hawks crashed around 2 a.m.
He was found dead the next morning at the scene of the accident.
Bellew was the “only crew member involved in the incident, and he was the only one injured or killed in the incident,” Col. Lindsey Elder, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division, told the Army Times. .
All other crew members were asleep at the time of the crash, Elder noted.
An unnamed source told the Army Times that the crash was “not an accident”.
It remains unclear how he was able to start at least one of the helicopters without waking the crew or alerting those who might have been on the ground, such as emergency medical services personnel or air traffic control personnel. .
The service’s Criminal Investigations Division is currently investigating the crash, which indicates criminal activity is suspected under Army accident investigation regulations, Elder said.
The move comes after several theories about the crash abounded on social media claiming the planes were intentionally destroyed.
But, Elder said: ‘At this stage we cannot address the manner in which the two planes were damaged, the timeline of events or the tower and emergency services response as those details are still considered to be part of the active investigation.
“No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
Captain James Bellew (pictured) was on medical evacuation duty on March 30 when two Black Hawk helicopters crashed at Wright Army Airfield. He was killed in the accident
The crash involved two Black Hawk helicopters, like the ones seen here
Bellew, from Charlottesville, Va., entered the military in 2017 through the University of Virginia’s ROTC program and toured South Korea as a medical services officer before being selected for the pilot medevac program in 2019.
He had been stationed at Fort Stewart, where medical evacuation pilots train at nearby Wright Army Airfield, since March 2020, and had served as a platoon leader in his company, according to Military.com .
Among his daily duties was moving critically ill COVID patients to off-post medical facilities.
During his service, Bellew received an Army Achievement Medal, the Field Medical Expert Badge, and the Army Airman Badge, in addition to other awards and service ribbons.
His former subordinates remember him as a compassionate and strong leader, the Army Times reports, with tributes pouring in on social media.
Tributes to Bellew began pouring in on social media following news of his death
The University of Virginia ROTC program released March 31 that Bellew’s contributions to the U.S. military and his selfless dedication to the profession will forever be remembered by the brothers and sisters with whom he served,” and Luis B. Blanchard wrote that he trained with Bellew.
“He learned to glide in probably two days and always put me to shame when it came to flying,” Blanchard recounted. “He was an excellent class leader and a phenomenal person. My prayers go out to his family.
Bellow’s brigade commander also described him as a senior officer in his unit.
“The loss of James is an immeasurable tragedy for his family, friends, crew and fellow soldiers,” Colonel Eric Vanek said in a statement, noting Bellew’s medical evacuation role as “one of the noblest imaginable…a role where he was constantly helping and saving the lives of others.