THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT CLINTON ON DOWNING OF HELICOPTER
We have been informed by the Government of the Democratic Republic of North Korea, through Congressman Bill Richardson who is in Pyongyang, that one of the pilots of the U.S. Army helicopter that strayed into North Korean airspace on Dec. 16 -- Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon of Clarksville, Tenn. -- was killed in the downing of the helicopter. North Korean officials have told Congressman Richardson that the other crewman -- Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Hall of Brooksville, Fla. -- is alive and reportedly uninjured. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both of these dedicated avaitors.
Congressman Richardson, who has been in continuing contact with Secretary of State Warren Christopher during this period, has at my instructions told the North Korean Government that we want prompt access to Chief Warrant Officer Hall and his return to a U.S. facility along with the remains of Chief Warrant Officer Hilemon. We are urging all available channels to press for an early resolution of this matter.
This tragic loss of life was unnecessary. Our primary concern now is the welfare of Chief Warrant Officer Hall and his return along with the body of Chief Warrant Officer Hilemon. Congressman Richardson, who has worked tirelessly to resolve this matter over the past two days, is staying in North Korea for now and will remain in constant contact with North Korean officials on our behalf.