Police helicopter makes emergency landing in Brazil after coming under fire

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Two civil and military police UH-1 helicopters were hit by gunfire during a joint operation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

The helicopters were supporting an operation involving a thousand police agents to execute over a hundred warrants for members of a drug cartel suspected of having killed three doctors. 

During the operation, the two aircraft were targeted by small arms fire coming from the ground.  

The armored windscreen of the Policia Militar helicopter was reportedly shattered.  

As for the Policia Civil UH-1H helicopter, it was forced to make an emergency landing after reportedly being hit in its fuel tank. A police officer on board was injured by shrapnel.  

However, according to the Policia Civil secretary for Rio de Janeiro, José Renato Torres, the pilots’ decision to land the civilian police helicopter was not due to technical damages but was a voluntary choice on their part to conduct a damage assessment. 

“Our crew is extremely technical,” Torres said in a press conference, quoted by TV Globo. “Following protocol, they are forced to land to assess the damage caused.” 

AeroTime reached out to the Policia Civil for comment. 

Footage released on social media shows the civilian police helicopter circling Penha, in the north of Rio, looking for a place to land. 


The Bell UH-1 Iroquois, designated Bell 205 in its civilian version but commonly known as the “Huey,” is a versatile helicopter that first entered service in the late 1950s. It played a crucial role in various conflicts, most notably during the Vietnam War. Several of them were transferred from the US Army to various branches of the Brazilian military and police. 

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