A probe has been launched into how a box of ammunition fell from a military helicopter and through the roof of an elementary school in El Paso, Texas.
The incident took place at about 3.45pm on Thursday afternoon at Parkland Elementary School, in the Ysleta Independent School District. Although the school day had finished by this point and no one was injured, the box left a large hole in the roof and led to a power outage in part of the building.
The helicopter is believed to have belonged to the 1st Armored Division and to have come from the nearby Fort Bliss US Army Base. Colonel Jay Hopkins, commander of the division’s aviation brigade, apologised for the incident, saying: “I'm extremely sorry for any damage done to the neighbouring elementary school, and I am grateful that no one was injured.”
He also added that an investigation into how the accident came about was now underway, and that flight patterns would be reassessed in light of the incident. At present, there are conflicting reports as to whether the helicopter intentionally dropped the box and it landed in the wrong place, or whether it simply fell out.
The ammunition in question was apparently secured by police and later returned to Fort Bliss. Mike Brantley, a public affairs officer at Fort Bliss, told Business Insider that it was a Black Hawk helicopter that was involved in the accident.
This isn't the only incident involving items falling from US helicopters in recent years, however. In December 2017, it was reported that the window of a US Marine Corps helicopter fell off mid-flight and onto a school playing field on the Japanese island of Okinawa, where the US military has a large base. It is understood that the window, which weighed 20lbs, injured one child, although fortunately not seriously.