Three Years After the Tragic BDF Helicopter Crash
Three years later many Belizeans still have questions surrounding the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of four Belize Defense Force troops. Major Radford Baizar, Major Adran Ramirez, Corporal Yassir Mendez, and Corporal Reinaldo Choco all perished when the helicopter crashed into the lagoon just off Coastal Road back in 2020. The group was on an operation to locate a drug plane that was busted in the area when the pilot is believed to have lost his orientation. So far, an investigation has been conducted and the crash is attributed to pilot error. BDF Commander, Brigadier General Azariel Loria, says the helicopter was not an apt aircraft for that mission as it did not have night vision capabilities.
Brig. Gen. Azariel Loria, Commander, Belize Defence Force: “It has been investigated. Pilot error was the main cause. I do not have the specific details into it but what I could recall is that some of the fault was pilot error, human error and at the time the helicopter did not have NVG so which is the night vision capability for the helicopter to fly at night so that is one of the reasons why it may have crash landed as well but that would have been at the discretion of the pilot in command. He would have taken that risk and by so him doing we all know that he chose to fly without the necessary gear but we are learning from our mistakes and the current assets that we have here they don’t fly at night if they don’t have night flying capability. Whichever soldier once it is affecting safety he can refuse to carry out the order or the task without any penalties. It has been at the courts. I have been briefed about the situation. It happened in 2020 so it’s about two or three years. I think that one or two families have collected but there are two families that continue to litigate it in courts and I believe that the Government of Belize is trying to settle it out of court. The amounts I am not that privy to but we are trying to settle it or the Government of Belize -let me rephrase that- is trying to settle it out of court.”