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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 705-94
December 19, 1994

OH-58C HELICOPTER DOWN IN NORTH KOREA

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). It is 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 Department official. 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. At the request of Secretary Christopher, Mr. Richardson will continue to press the North Koreans for further information, for access to the crew and for their prompt return.

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 crew.

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.

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