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BDF Helicopter crashes #540811
02/28/20 12:17 PM
02/28/20 12:17 PM
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News Five has received reports that four members of the Belize Defense Force reportedly perished in a helicopter crash in the area of Gales Point. According to reports, the men left in the Bell helicopter on Thursday morning and were not heard of. We are told that the helicopter was found crashed in a waterway. More details to follow...

News Five is still awaiting confirmation on the reports that the B.D.F officers perished in the Defender Aircraft that was reportedly found crashed sometime this morning.
--------

News 5 has confirmed that at least one family has been informed of the fatal crash and that their loved one has died. We are reliably informed that four persons were onboard. Initial reports reaching us say that all four died but as we have shared, the number of fatalities not yet confirmed. We have received four names which we are unable to release at this time because families are only just being notified.

Channel 5


Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540813
02/28/20 02:42 PM
02/28/20 02:42 PM
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The Ministry of National Security has issued the following press release.

The Ministry of National Security is saddened to confirm that the Belize Defence Force (BDF) U1H1 Helicopter and its crew of two pilots and two crew members of the BDF Airwing crashed landed yesterday morning in the area of Gales Point.

According to the BDF Operations Cell, the aircraft left the BDF Airwing early Thursday morning as part of the response to the drug plane that was captured yesterday. A search and rescue team confirmed by air that they found the aircraft but have not yet located the crew. Efforts for search and rescue operations, including the Belize Coast Guard divers, continue to ascertain more details of this tragic accident.

The pilots onboard are confirmed to be Major Adran Ramirez and Major Radford Baizar. The crew members are Corporal Yassir Mendez and Corporal Reinaldo Choco.

The Ministry of National Security is in communication with the families of the helicopter crew to offer support and keep them updated on the search and rescue operation. The Ministry stands in solidarity with the Commander, officers, and soldiers of the Belize Defence Force in its ongoing effort to locate their comrades.

[Linked Image]

Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540821
02/29/20 05:08 AM
02/29/20 05:08 AM
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Office of the Prime Minister Issues Condolences to Families of BDF Soldiers

On behalf of the Government and People of Belize, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) offers deepest condolences to the families of the members of the Belize Defence Force (BDF) killed in the horrific air disaster that brought down a BDF helicopter.

On behalf of the entire nation, the OPM records its gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice these brave men of honour made in laying down their lives in service to our country.

The OPM also offers condolences to the Commander, Officers, and all the men and women of the Belize Defence Force.

Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540824
02/29/20 05:12 AM
02/29/20 05:12 AM
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Major Adran Ramirez, the BDF pilot who passed away in the crash.

Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540826
02/29/20 05:54 AM
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From Channel 7:

Four Soldiers Dead in Unprecedented Accident
Tonight a heavy air of mourning and mystery hangs over the BDF and the nation as four soldiers are dead in the second worst air disaster in Belize's history. The helicopter the soldiers were in went down in the Western Lagoon near Gales Point Manatee before dawn on Thursday. The four soldiers, two majors and two corporals were responding as air support to the interception of the drug plane which landed off the Coastal road. But, there's mystery because no one knew when the helicopter went down - and in fact, no one in the BDF knew it was missing until last night!

BDF Helicopter and Crew At The Bottom Of Western Lagoon
This is all that could be seen of the U1H1 helicopter - it's tail jutting out of the Western Lagoon. Just beneath the surface you can make out the blades of the chopper - and from this we can conclude that it was face down in the Lagoon. We got to a clearing on the banks of the lagoon at the same time of two BDF deployments, in the background - about a thousand feet away, the chopper lay submerged with the bodies of four of their fellow soldiers. Those bodies, their souls were surely on the mind of the BDF commander, General Steven Ortega as sat at the front desk today, in a daze:

Ministry: Helicopter Was On Approved Mission
Indeed, this unprecedented tragedy has overshadowed yesterday's record drug bust of over five thousand pounds. And to answer the many questions puzzling the public, the Ministry of National Security and the commanders of all the armed forces held a joint press conference at the Coast Guard headquarters. Minister Mike Peyrefitte first explained the mission that the helicopter and its crew were on near the Coastal Highway, between Northern And Southern Lagoon:

No Night Vision Equipment Or Training?
A sanctioned mission, but might it have also been a suicide mission, to fly out into the pre-dawn without night vision equipment or training? It's a tough question, but a very valid one - and here's what the commander had to say: Reporter: "Are the helicopters equip with night vision or are the pilots equip with night vision equipment?" Brig. General Steven Ortega, Commander BDF "The helicopters aren't equip, however the pilots do conduct night flying especially along the coast." Reporter: "Is there preliminarily from a cursory inspection of the craft, I know its still in the water, but is there any indication if the helicopter was fired upon or if it just apparently ended up in the lagoon?" Brig. General Steven Ortega, Commander BDF: "I don't know. We haven't seen anything. We await the investigation to confirm whatever, because it's still partially submerged."

When did Chopper Take Flight?
So, no distress call was received, but was the helicopter in the air much earlier than announced? Multiple reports tell us that a chopper was heard in the Ladyville/Hattieville area at 2:00 am, not 4:00 am as the BDF reports. We asked about this today: Reporter: "The commissioner told us yesterday the intercept was made just after 4am, between 4am and 4:30am, but I have multiple accounts of people who live in the area Ladyville, Hattieville, who heard the helicopter up at 2am..."

Admiral Borland Leads Investigation
And, now an investigation will have to put together all these disparate threads of information to come up with the answer as to what went wrong in the air on Thursday morning. The man tasked with doing all that is the Chief off Defence Staff, John Borland - who gave the press an outline of his investigation: John Borland, Chief of Defense Staff: "There will be 3 investigations running parrallel to each other; the air accident investigation to investigate the causal factors of the accident itself, but also the internal investigation to investigate the procedures and protocols to see if those were followed and what was breached..."

Pilot's Mother Says BDF Didn't Contact Her
So, while the authorities get ready to conduct an investigation into this deadly helicopter accident, the family members of one of the victims were complaining that up until late this evening, they were having a lot of difficulties trying to get information about what exactly happened. The family of Major Radford Baizar says that they have been worried sick about him for about a day now, and they had to learn about his death through rumors on the street. This evening, we met his mother at the entrance of the BDF's Price Barracks Compound. Here's how she explained why the lack of direct communication between her son's superiors and his family members is causing them to get suspicious about his death:

From Channel 5:

B.D.F. Helicopter Crashes into Lagoon; Four Soldiers are Killed!
The entire nation mourns tonight the worst air disaster in which two pilots and two crews of the Belize Defense Force perished.  The four died in a helicopter crash sometime [...]

Brig. General Ortega Fields Media Questions about Fatal Crash
The B.D.F is still reeling from the fatal crash that claimed the lives of four of their own. But tonight there are still many questions and at today’s press briefing, [...]

More on B.D.F.’s Fatal Helicopter Crash from the Ministry of National Security
As we reported tonight, the deaths of four offices comes directly on the heel of the seizure of two tons of cocaine.  As we showed you on Thursday, the Belize [...]

A Reflection on the Lives of the Four Officers Killed
As you’ve heard earlier in the newscast, four of the B.D.F. soldiers are dead following the helicopter crash in the lagoon just off the Coastal Road. Two pilots and two [...]

Radford Baizar’s Grieving Mother Slams Ministry of National Security
Up to news time, the families of the crash victims are at Price Barracks and still there was no word on the bodies of their loved ones. Thirty-four-year-old Radford Baizar, [...]

Condolences Pour in for Fallen B.D.F. Soldiers
Condolences are pouring in on the tragic loss of life of the B.D.F. pilots and crew members and News Five sympathizes with the families of the victims.  This afternoon, the [...]


Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540848
03/02/20 05:46 AM
03/02/20 05:46 AM
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Video: BDF Helicopter retrieval



A Grieving Wife Speaks Out

(The following is a statement from Jennine Thompson-Baizar, wife of Major Radford Lee Baizar, who tragically died while in service of his country)

[Linked Image] "I would like to start off by saying my condolences to all the family and friends of the deceased. My heart goes out especially to Mrs. Alys Ramirez and her children.

I am outraged by the events leading up to the the death of my husband Major Radford Lee Baizar and the others who tragically lost their lives on Thursday in such a horrific manner. Corruption and greed by those entrusted with the delicate task of running our beloved country is now to the point of national humiliation. To see a Military Mother, Mrs Jean Baizar on the television hurting, desperately seeking answers from the authorities is an outright shame, this should never happen, she should have been treated with far more respect than what was shown to her in such a difficult time.

These men did not have to die this way, it was not necessary for them to embark on such a deadly mission. Both Radford and Mr. Ramirez were experts, Radford especially was very much into safety, he would rather ground the aircraft and cancel the mission before risking his life and the lives of his passengers. We may never get the true story and family members are now left with the image of the chopper crashing to the ground with loved ones inside. The most disturbing part is the fact that they died an entire day before and were left out in the water while the officials rejoiced in the big drug bust. How could you not immediately sound the alarm knowing that our soldiers did not return home!

I fear for the future of Belize, it seems that the lives of our people are worthless to those in power taking shortcuts to find success. Major Baizar and Major Ramirez did not take short cuts in life, they invested their hearts and souls into their job, losing precious family time in pursuit of a dream of taking the BDF to higher heights. Belize we must do better! Again my Condolences to all affected, the entire Baizar Family especially the children left behind.

RIP "Raddy"




Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540867
03/03/20 06:14 AM
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Ministry of National of Security Provides Update on Investigation into the Tragic Crash Landing of BDF Helicopter

On the evening of Friday, February 28, 2020, 25 members of the Honduran Naval Defence Rescue Team arrived in Belize by air caravan and has been assisting with the recovery of the wreckage from the Belize Defence Force helicopter accident site. On Saturday and Sunday, with the use of a Bell 412 Helicopter, the wreckage was recovered and has been taken to the BDF Air Wing.

An investigative team under command of Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral John Borland was assembled over the weekend and is in the process of gathering information in order to assimilate the facts surrounding the BDF U1H1 Helicopter accident which occurred on Thursday, 27 February 2020, and claimed the lives of four officers.

Captain Elton Bennett, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard has been assigned as the lead investigator, assisted by Col. Asariel Lorea, Deputy Commander BDF; Lt. Col. Alvin Amoa, Senior Military Liaison Officer; and a senior enlisted member of the BDF. The team has also been joined by senior officers of BATSUB, the United States Military Liaison Office and the Mexican Military. A team from Bell Flight Safety Group, who are specialized in the U1H1 Helicopter, is expected to arrive in-country today to conduct an air accident investigation along with the Belize Department of Civil Aviation. An initial report is expected to be produced within three days and a final report is expected in 14 days.

The Ministry of National Security along with the Belize Defence Force is thankful for the overwhelming support that has been received from partners and is very grateful and appreciative of the kind words that have been expressed by the public and organizations both locally and internationally.

The Government of Belize and the Ministry of National Security assure the public that a thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain the facts of the incident.

Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540875
03/04/20 05:36 AM
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What Caused the Helicopter to Crash?

According to the Ministry of National Security, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard Captain Elton Bennett is the lead investigator, under command of Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral John Borland, into the tragic incident. Experts from BATSUB, the U.S. and Mexico are also assisting in the investigation. A final report is expected in two weeks. Retired Major Lloyd Jones appeared on Open Your Eyes this morning where he spoke of what may have caused the helicopter to crash.

Major Lloyd Jones (Ret’d)

“I think that the aircraft encountered a catastrophic mechanical failure whether that was the engine, rotary system or the hydraulic system. There was something catastrophic that happened that did not even give the pilots and opportunity to make a call. Two things can lead to that. One the aircraft is shot down or two, there is a catastrophic mechanical failure. Remember a helicopter has this blade going around and if something goes wrong that helicopter will spin on that axis and the G-forces alone will make it almost impossible to make you able to reach out and turn that radio because the internal connections, as they are flying they have to turn a radio on to go to base. So something happened that they were not even able to call to base to say that I am having difficulties, that I need assistance. What has happened here is that the entire air wing has been decapitated.”

Marleni Cuellar, Host

“Is that a practice, or actual procedure?”

Major Lloyd Jones (Ret’d)

“When I was there it was procedure. When I was there it was procedure. When I was deployed with my troops, I would be in one vehicle and the second in command will be in another vehicle. We never travel together. Again this tells me that this order could not come from the commander.”

Unions press for independent investigation into BDF helicopter crash
The calls for an independent investigation into the demise of four officers from the B.D.F. continue to mount. The Belize Energy Workers Union has issued a statement expressing support for the families of two pilots and crew members who perished in the helicopter crash last week.  B.E.W.U. is joining the call for an immediate independent investigation into the air disaster. The union is also offering support to the N.T.U.C.B. on its recent demands to the government calling for budget allocations for the UNCAC Steering Committee and the Integrity Commission. B.E.W.U. is supporting the demand for the removal of John Saldivar from the Public Accounts Committee and the resumption of Committee meetings no later than March thirteenth, 2020 as well as for the tabling at the next House meeting of the Auditor General’s Annual Report for the years 2014 and 2015. The National Student Union of Belize this afternoon said it is in concert with the demands of the N.T.U.C.B. in respect of the funding for the oversight bodies and for the removal of Saldivar from the PAC. The student union expresses outrage at the response of the Ministry of National Security in the tragic death of the B.D.F. officers and calls for an independent inquiry.

A terse statement was also released by the Belize Workers Union. That union supports the demands of the National Trade Union Congress made at the protest ten days ago. Its members, it says, are disgusted over corruption and join forces to the calls to incarcerate those that wrongfully and dishonestly govern, or want to govern.

Channel 5


Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540890
03/05/20 06:06 AM
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COMPOL Addresses Conspiracy Theories

And while the immediate families, and the larger BDF family prepare for two more funerals - in the public mind, there's still so much uncertainty about the mysterious circumstances under which the BDF chopper went down.

The ballistics report should be in tomorrow and we are reliably informed that it concludes that the chopper was NOT shot down.

So, for unknown reasons, in the pre-dawn darkness of Wednesday, it crashed, headfirst into the Western Lagoon - at a point where the lagoon was just five feet deep. It was a massive impact crash, shattering the aircraft and its crew.

As you know, it was flying in support of an operation to intercept a narco-jet and its crew. But, there are so many questions and misgivings about that drug plane which landed just off the Coastal Highway, and about half a mile from where the chopper crashed.

We pressed the Commissioner of police for answers today:

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"The whole thing has an appearance, some elements of being type of a handset play. What is the TV shows they called a controlled delivery. What is the level of the interaction and involvement of the DEA and the police in terms of landing this particular drug plane or making this intercept?"

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"I don't know if people understand what control delivery actually means for us in Belize. But control delivery for us in Belize would be that we would allow the plane to land with the drugs, allow them to refuel and then allow them to fly out with the drugs. That is not what happened. We got information coming out of the JIOC on the plane coming and we did what we normally do. We went into operation and we intercepted the plane and the drugs. It couldn't be controlled delivery. I said to someone yesterday the worst thing ever happened to Belize was facebook, because with the advent of facebook gave birth to all kind of experts, people who spew things that they themselves may not even believe just for the sake of getting some likes or some followings. For me it is irresponsible."

Reporter
"The question that Jules asked in terms of DEA involvement and assistance with coordination, can you address that?"

Chester Williams
"I am not going to go into details of our operations."

Reporter
"In terms of who gave and how the B.D.F works with the police to conduct an operation like that and who all is aware that a helicopter for the B.D.F is in the air?"

Chester Williams
"As I have said before, normally when we have operations like these they are coordinated through JIOC and as police, as B.D.F., we hand over our personnel and they are coordinated through JIOC and then JIOC then tells them where to go and what to do. So, JIOC would know which police, or which B.D.F are out there along with whatever assets are being deployed."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"How closely does the anti-narcotics unit work with the DEA? I know you don't want to say what units were out there, that's understood, but one assumes anti-narcotics unit was out there. Were they in lock-step with DEA in this mission?"

Chester Williams
"I am not going to go into the details of the operations, but they work very closely together."

Reporter
"One of the lines currently is that these men lives were endangered by the decisions taken possibly by hire ups or there is the other line that higher ups, especially the commander of the force didn't know that these men were actually out there."

Chester Williams
"I don't know about that that the commander didn't know. That is a matter that is being addressed during the investigation and I am not going to say nothing where that investigation is concerned, because I am not a part of that investigation in terms coordinating or overseeing. The ministry have assigned Mr. Borland and he is fully in charge of that investigation."

Reporter
"Are you able to speak about the part of the investigation that has to do with the pilot and whatever crew would have been assisting to determine who these people are and how they were assisted out of the area, and as a matter of fact probably even into the country? We know that sometimes some people come from outside to assist."

Chester Williams
"Yes, there is an investigation going on to ascertain those things. We did find a finger print in the plane and we have sent that finger print for testing through Interpol."

Reporter
"Sir, there has been an allegation that several ANU vehicles were actually going away from the scene when the BSAG was making its way onto the scene and there was an order from a higher up police saying don't search that vehicle, which is protocol of BSAG?"

Chester Williams
"There are a number of persons spewing nonsense that makes no sense. ANU has several vehicles and the higher up officer you are speaking about, he and I were together the entire night and we went out there together on the scene. When we got there on the scene, BSAG were in the area guarding the plane. So, I don't see how he could have said to BSAG, don't go in or don't search or don't do this or that."

Channel 7


Re: BDF Helicopter crashes [Re: Marty] #540985
03/11/20 06:11 AM
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Ministry of National Security press briefing to share preliminary report on BDF helicopter incident

Honduran Air Force Report On Heli Crash Points to Pilot Error, Disorientation

Tonight, the preliminary report on the BDF helicopter crash that cost the lives of four soldiers has been released. And, it shows pilot error was the likely cause of one of the worst air accidents Belize has ever seen.

The report compiled by the Honduras Air Force Accident Prevention and Investigation Board says, quote, "the crew began a right turn with a defending vertical speed of one thousand feet per minute which possibly caused a spatial disorientation in the crew since they were performing a night flight under unfavourable atmospheric conditions, without night vision goggles equipment and also flying over water." End quote.

The report adds the accident investigation board concludes preliminary that one of the probable excuses of this accident is the human factor in addition to this probably one of the pilots was making reports or receiving information via cell phone which may create optical illusions and spatial disorientation in the pilot in command of the flight controls at that time, so it is related that this could affect the somatosensory system in the pilots which led them to descend at a very steep angle unconsciously during a turn causing a high energy impact in the water," End quote.

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
Minister of National Security
"On February 27th, 2020 at around 1:38 am the joint intelligence and operations center JIOC which is a combination of BDF, Coast Guard, and Police made a request of Brig. Gen. Ortega of which Brig. Gen. Ortega conditionally approved for a helicopter to assist in the operation that led to the seizure of a drug plane a few hours later. At around 1:45 seven minutes after that JIOC calls Major Ramirez and tells him to get ready for a mission as Brig. Gen. Ortega conditionally approved a mission for him to deploy a helicopter to assist the JIOC with an operation at around 2:12 am Major Ramirez texted Brig. Gen. Ortega asking him if the mission is a go. At 2:18a.m. Brig. Gen. Ortega calls JIOC to get a briefing on the mission and repeats his conditional approval. He explains to JIOC that it will be up to Major Ramirez to finally determine if they can fly the Helicopter based on the weather and other factors. At 2:22 a.m. Brig. Gen. Ortega calls Major Ramirez and tells him that the mission is a go provided that he Major Ramirez is satisfied that the proper conditions exist in order to safely fly and that in his, Brig. Gen. Ortega's, view the weather will not clear up until about 5 a.m. At about 3:17 a.m. Major Ramirez texted Brig. Gen. Ortega and said Sir, weather hold up, will depart. It is important to note at this point that at various times before February 27th, 2020 JIOC and Brig. Gen. Ortega had requested air assistance from Major Ramirez and he refused to command a mission because of unfavorable conditions. This was never treated as insubordination as it is accepted that when it comes to flights the Airwing has the final say. It is also important to note at this point that once Major Ramirez, as the commander of the Airwing, had decided to accept the mission then he is the one with the total discretion to pick the pilots and crew as was the case here. At around 3:54 a.m. Major Ramirez signs out on the helicopter and crew and by around 4:07a.m. the helicopter lifted off from the Williamson base Phillip Goldson International Airport area once the helicopter lifted off then as per protocol major Ramirez communicated directly with JIOC, who were the ones spearheading the mission. At 4:18 a.m. Major Ramirez messages JIOC and says, here, a series of messages are then exchanged between Major Ramirez and JIOc which I cannot reveal for the purposes of National Security and the Security of future Operations. Major Ramirez messaged Major Velez of JIOC at around 4:33 a.m. and then Major Velez responded at around 4:38 a.m. saying "Great help, thanks." At this point, the specific purpose of the helicopter in the mission had been served and it was expected that the helicopter would return to base. That last text that Major Velez sends to Major Ramirez that says, "Great help, thanks" only had one tick indicating that in normal circumstances Major Ramirez did not receive that WhatsApp message."

But they never returned to base, and that message was never received. They helicopter and crew would not be found until 30 hours later, in the bottom of the lagoon.

No one even reported them missing until 12 hours after they went down. So, who failed to follow up? And why were they using WhatsApp on such a serious mission?

The press grilled the Minister, and the Brig. Gen. this afternoon at the Coast Guard Headquarters about who failed to follow up and the WhatsApp factor - which the investigators found could have affected the pilot's orientation:

Jules Vasquez
"Since it was really a JIOC operation and Mr. Velez was in charge of the JIOC operation and he was the last point of contact with that one stroke indication was it not his duty to follow up?

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
Minister of National Security
"That's a part of the investigation that is ongoing."

Reporter:
"Are you able to share why there was no concern on your part when these gentlemen, I don't know if you tried to reach out to them throughout the day to establish if they had concluded their mission or not?"

Brig. Gen. Steven Ortega:
"I believe the investigation spelled that out thoroughly."

Reporter:
"Could you just repeat what you're saying the investigation spelled out?"

Brig. Gen. Ortega:
I mean it's there.

Yes, I mean I answered the question in the investigation so it is there in the report.

Reporter:
So, we'll have to wait until…

Brig. Gen. Ortega:
No it's there in the report

Jules Vasquez:
"Is there anything actionable at this point against anyone for dereliction of duty?"

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
"Not at this point until we conclude that aspect of the investigation, remember what we're talking about right now preliminarily is just the actual helicopter itself and the forensics and ballistics. There is another investigation going on as it relates to how we should, how things should have worked out internally Captain Bennet is currently working on that and that aspect of the investigation has not yet concluded. But I can assure you, I can assure you that if anyone was found to be in dereliction of duty they would be full consequences to be paid."

Reporter:
You're mentioning a WhatsApp as the basis by which (Major) Velez and the pilot and the plane are texting back and forth on WhatsApp could you please explain that in soldier protocol using a WhatsApp?

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
What do you mean soldier protocol?

Reporter:
Sir it's soldiers that were in the air and weren't they communicating with another soldier on the ground? And weren't they using Whatsapp?

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
Yes.

Reporter:
So talk to us about WhatsApp in operations

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
Well, that's what we use, that's what we can afford to use. We don't have the level of equipment that has us at that level of technology that we can operate or communicate at a level that we would want. We have to do with what we have and based on what the resources that are based in the Ministry of National Security that's all that we could afford to do.

Reporter:
Whatsapp Messages can be duplicated using photoshop their conversation can be duplicate with Whatsapp, how would you independently validate WhatsApp messages?

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
Pastor Wade, I don't know about you but I am the only, I can understand completely why you wouldn't want to trust me because I'm a politician and a lawyer those are two things that go with trust these days but you have. The rest of the people at this table, what your implying is that when the Brig. Gen. turned over his phone for this investigation and showed us his communication you're telling me that you don't have any trust in the Brig. Gen. the head of the Belizean army, you don't have any trust.

Reporter:
The question is what is the independent validation Sir, the trust of the Brig. Gen. comes from the independent validation of the messaging system. What is the independent validating measure for the WhatsApp messages?

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
There was none, I trust the Brig. Gen..

Reporter:
Thank you, Sir.

Reporter:
Is WhatsApp the only or the preferred medium used to communicate when you're out on missions, at times because that is what is available. So is there any other form of communication that would be used?

Brig. Gen. Ortega:
Sure we use radios but it depends on the availability and the location you're at.

Reporter;
So radio's wouldn't have been an option that morning, you're saying.

Brig. Gen. Ortega:
Could be, I'm not sure because it was JIOC conducting the mission.

Reporter:
So JIOC determines what is used you're saying?

Brig. Gen. Ortega:
For certain missions.

Jules Vasquez:
Isn't it a bit of a stretch to have someone flying a helicopter in operation mode and sending WhatsApp messages?


Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
He was not the pilot in command, the pilot in command was Major Baizer

Reporter:
Data is very very very spotty in that area, like the communication there is very spotty to me. You know it would raise some flags that you would rely on WhatsApp in an area where data usage is a challenge. That to me, poses a serious concern and it puts a big limitation to me on these men that were out there.


Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
It poses a major concern to me that we do not have the resources, enough resources to deal with these kinds of missions indeed, that is my personal opinion.

Reporter:
You know it says a lot about what is going on there in the BDF or the ministry if now until four lives are lost you're saying oh you know this is a big concern that we don't have this equipment so clearly to me, it's like you sent these men out there unprepared, unequipped, sent them out there to their death.


Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
No, we did not send them out to their death Major Ramirez had total discretion to refuse the mission if he believed that weather conditions were not favorable or WhatsApp messages could not easily be communicated. At any time it is universally accepted within the military and especially when it comes to flights from the air wing that even if he needed to communicate but couldn't communicate he could turn back and abort the mission, the discretion was totally his.

Reporter:
So we put that responsibility on a dead man, you're saying?


Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
When you read the report you tell me."

The report from the Honduran Air Force refers to the lack of night vision goggles, and the use of WhatsApp was determining factors in causing the pilot's disorientation. They concluded the engine had full power at the point of high energy impact in the water.

But, we did have another question about the timeline of the accident - and that relates to a clock we have seen pulse dup from thew wreckage. It stopped at 2:20, but the accident happened after 4:30 AM according to the preliminary report:


Jules Vasquez:
I have a photograph of the clock which was retrieved from in the crater, the impact crater or nearby, and it is stopped at 2:20 is there any known explanation for this?

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
Minister of National Security
Well, I don't know that you do have that.

Jules Vasquez: I can show you

Hon. Micheal Peyrefitte
I don't know that I would want to know, but nothing was made of that during the forensic analysis of the helicopter.

Channel 7

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