Secretary of Defense William J. Perry confirmed today that an unarmed U.S.
Army OH-58C observation helicopter strayed into North Korean airspace at
about 11:03 a.m. Saturday Korean time (9:03 p.m. Friday EST) and went down in
Kumgang County in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK).
unclear whether the helicopter made an emergency landing or was shot down, as
the North Korean press has reported.
At this time the condition of the two-man
crew is not known.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher has been in touch this morning with
Congressman Bill Richardson (D-NM), who arrived in Pyongyang on a previously
scheduled trip shortly after the incident occurred, accompanied by a State
Congressman Richardson, who was first informed of the
incident by the DPRK Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed his deep
concern, asked for an explanation and urged immediate steps to ensure the
welfare and prompt return of the crew.
In phone conversations with Secretary
Christopher, the Congressman reported that his North Korean hosts described the
incident as unfortunate and said that it was under investigation.
request of Secretary Christopher, Mr. Richardson will continue to press the
North Koreans for further information, for access to the crew and for their
State Department officials have also communicated with the North Koreans
through their Mission to the United Nations in New York to insist on the
urgency of information on the incident, as well as for prompt access to the
U.S. Forces Korea has identified the crewmen as Chief Warrant Officer (CW2)
David Hilemon of Clarksville, Tenn. and CW2 Bobby Hall of Brooksville, Fla.
Both are members of A Company, 4th Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment of
Camp Page, Republic of Korea.
Their families have been notified.
The crew was
undertaking a routine training mission.
We have conflicting reports about the incident and will provide more
information as soon as we can confirm the details.