Suspected Pirates Shoot At Italian Naval Helicopter
A helicopter of the Italian navy, on anti-piracy patrols off the east coast of Somalia, was hit by shots fired from a boat suspected to be under the control of pirates.
One of the shots pierced the helicopters' windshield and the fragments slightly injured the pilot. The helicopter, engaged in anti-piracy patrols as part of the EU's World Food Programme escort and counter piracy mission, Operation Atalanta, returned to the ship, ITS San Giusto, with the pilot reported to have been hit in the neck by a piece of plexiglass. He was later able to personally contact his family to reassure them of his condition.
A preliminary reconstruction of events shows that the shots were fired from a boat "suspected of having been attacked and taken hostage by suspected pirates. The helicopter of San Giusto did not respond to the gunfire in order to not endanger the safety of any hostages onboard the vessel."
Operation Atalanta is held under the aegis of the European Union and the commander of the naval force is Rear Admiral Henry Credendino, serves aboard the ship San Giusto. San Giusto, hosting the Force Headquarters command, is a landing platform dock class ship providing roll-on / roll-off landing capability with a crew of 210, including 30 Force Headquarters staff, from 8 different countries.
No official announcement has been made by the EUNAVFOR Operations Headquarters so far.