By BBN Staff: The Ministry of National Security held a press conference today in the wake of a tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of four members of the Belize Defense Force (BDF).
Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte, flanked by the heads of the security forces and ministry CEO’s gathered at the Belize Coast Guard Headquarters at Mile 3 1/2 on the George Price Highway and explained that there is an ongoing investigation into the crash that killed BDF airwing members Major Adran Ramirez, Major Radford Baizar, Corporal Yassir Mendez, and Corporal Reinaldo Choco.
Peyrefitte said that helicopter was used in an operation yesterday that saw the seizure of around $100 million in drugs. He said that it was normal procedure for the helicopter to remain either on the ground or hover in the immediate vicinity of an operation and only radio headquarters if there is a situation. He went on to say that when night set in and there was no word from the crew, the BDF mounted a
full search for the aircraft and crew.
“There has been absolutely no evidence at this point to indicate that the aircraft was brought down or shot down or anything to that effect,” Peyrefitte said, “however, as we’ve said before there will be a full-fledged investigation that will consider everything. No stone will be left unturned.”
He stressed that there will be two investigations, one looking into whether all protocols were followed by the pilot and crew and the other looking into if there was any foul play involved.
“These people in the execution of their duties lost their lives,” said Elodio Aragon Jr. “The Belizean people must understand that these people were out there risking their lives in that operation. I remember when Kobe passed away…you had a lot of Belizeans who were mourning. We need to mourn for these people because these people were out there serving their country.”
The ministry has pledged to give the maximum amount of support possible to the families left behind to grieve the loss of these brave soldiers.