The news of a helicopter being found in the Blue Creek area in northern Belize came to our desk this past Wednesday and while it was difficult to confirm that information at that time, today, the Minister of National Security, John Saldivar, did just that as he spoke at an event at Price Barracks in Ladyville Village. Saldivar was not giving any details of the find but rather, he spoke of that plane being added to the two aircrafts that the Government of Taiwan will be sending for Belize.
“And you may or may not have been aware that a few days ago the BDF also captured a Bell 407 helicopter which will now bring our number to three once we get the two from the Taiwanese Government in November.”
And while Saldivar gave no details of the aircraft and what it was doing in Belize, we spoke with Brigadier General David Jones, who gave us an update.
“I won’t be at liberty to give you much information on that Bell helicopter; that was a police operation. After the aircraft was probably captured in the, I believe it was the Blue Creek area, our Belize Defense Force pilots were requested to fly the helicopter into our air wing; that happened on Wednesday sometime about 3pm and then I was called later on and requested to find out if our pilots can fly it. It’s a Bell 407 helicopter and our pilots were able to fly it so they went to Blue Creek and the aircraft is now sitting at our airwing. We’ve tried to find information in regard to the tail number that is on it. We’ve checked with our partners in Mexico, we’ve also checked with our partners all the way in Columbia and they cannot ascertain who really owns that helicopter. What they’ve informed us is that the tail numbers on it may be misleading as to who owns it, so it’s not ascertained at the moment who owns the helicopter. The fact is that we have the helicopter in custody and it’s over at our air wing. Well it’s a Bell 407 helicopter, it’s the same helicopter that our pilots have been trained to fly so they can competently fly. It can carry about four or five passengers; I can’t say yes it’s going to be for the Government of Belize yet because it’s an ongoing investigation. Someone may come to claim it, it’s unlikely but there is a possibility someone may come and claim it. The fact that it had a fuel pump apart from the tank that holds the fuel, there was a pump inside the helicopter itself that when the main tank runs out there was extra fuel inside the main cabin to pump fuel so based on that we suspect, we cannot say for sure, we suspect it was used for illegal activity.”
According to Jones, the helicopter had no clearance to be in Belize’s airspace and the officials of the Belize Police Department are continuing their investigations.
“Looking at that helicopter it didn’t have anything luxury in it. The way it looked, it looked as if though it was going to be used for a long distance patrol because the portion where it had the seats, those were replaced by fuel containers. So it is packed with fuel containers so that when it reaches a certain journey they can just refuel while in the air or they can go on the ground and refuel again. We cannot ascertain exactly what it was used for because I guess the police would have to answer those questions because I don’t know if they have spoken to anyone as yet.”
“Have you been able to ascertain whether it has had clearance to basically be in our air space.”
“I don’t believe it did, because the police would have indicated that to us but this investigation is being led by the police they haven’t indicated that it had any clearance.”
According to some residents of the area, there were four Caucasian men who exited the plane and that the landing was done due to bad weather …. But the police and the BDF are doing checks to see who the registered owner is and where it came from. Love News understands that the identification found on the aircraft was a fabricated one and that a microchip was located on the helicopter that would be able to help in the investigation in terms of the routes the plane has flown.