Reported by Brooke Boone from Reno’s NBC Channel 4
BLM Says They Will “Look Into It” But Dangerous Pilot Still FlyingThe disturbing images of the roundup going on in eastern Nevada have upset many. We showed Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley the video and she was appalled by the pilots behavior. Shelly Berkley–”I was troubled by images from the recent wild horse roundup. The Bureau of Land Management must ensure that all rules are followed during any roundup. Those who are hired to perform wild horse roundups must obey these rules and if they fail to do so, appropriate steps should be taken.”
Action was taken only after I showed the video to the BLM’s Chief Washington spokesperson, Tom Gorey. He says an investigation is underway involving Sun-J, the helicopter contractor for the round-up in this video. Gorey says “It will certainly involve questioning Sun-J and the pilot and matters related to this incident.” Even with this investigation, the BLM tells me the pilot in this video remains on the job.
Since our story first aired on Monday, we received new photos of a helicopter buzzing horses. Witnesses claim these photos were taken on Monday, after the BLM knew of the problem — the BLM says they believe the photos were taken the same day of the video… Just from a different angle.
But no matter when those pictures were taken, this is not the first time the BLM has had to deal with complaints about helicopter pilots. Seven months ago this video was taken at an Oregon roundup. At first glance it looks like a horse is flipped by a helicopter pilot. BLM calls this video “bogus.” Gorey says, “There is a shadow of the helicopter that makes it appear the horse is flipped over. But no such incident occurred.
We are not saying what happened. You make the call on that. But we do know the helicopter was flying close to the horses.
Today, News 4 went as far as calling Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to get some answers. He runs the Bureau of Land Management. So far, we have not received a response.
News 4 will continue to follow this story and update you, the viewer, on the internal investigation as that information becomes available.