El Paso

Ammunition box falls from helicopter; investigation brings more questions than answers

Ammunition box falls from Black Hawk

The investigation continues into why and how a military Black Hawk helicopter dropped a box of ammunition over Parkland Elementary School.

A spokesman with the Ysleta Independent School District said it happened at about 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The incident happened after the school day was over and no students or staff were in danger, the spokesman said. 

Fort Bliss officials said the incident damaged the roof and a classroom.

"We are very thankful there were no injuries during this event," Garrison Commander of Fort Bliss Colonel Steve Murphy said.

The flight crew consisted of five members: two pilots, one door gunner, one crew chief and a evaluator.

"The investigation will bear out whether this was individual error or material failure," Murphy said. "We have to do that investigation and based off that we will see where we need to go next to place the blame."

Murphy told ABC-7 the ammo can weighed about 40 pounds and fell from about 1,000 feet during a training mission. "The combat aviation brigade flies every day," Murphy said. "They have to build readiness to fight and win our nation's wars."

"I am not aware of any event that may have occurred like this in the past," Murphy said.

"I'm extremely sorry for any damage done to the neighboring elementary school, and I am grateful that no one was injured,” Col. Jay Hopkins, commander of the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade said in a news release. “The incident is under investigation.”
Fort Bliss said it will reassess current flight patterns to ensure that incidents similar to this will not happen again.


"I have full faith and confidence that these were highly skilled individuals going out and doing great things," Murphy said. " We just have to determine how and why it happened."

As soon as more details become available during the investigation ABC-7 will update you.


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