Tags: brian williams | chopper | tale | pilots

Brian Williams Chopper Tale Has 2 Pilots Fighting for Control

By    |   Friday, 06 February 2015 11:08 AM

Brian Williams' tale of a harrowing helicopter ride during the 2003 invasion of Iraq becomes more tangled as others get caught in the sticky details, including Richard Krell and Chris Simeone who both claim to be the pilot who was ferrying the NBC anchor.

On Wednesday, the host of "NBC Nightly News" apologized on-air for saying on several occasions in the past that his helicopter was hit by bullets and a rocket-propelled grenade. He now openly acknowledges that his helicopter was never hit by enemy fire.

"I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago," he said. "I want to apologize. I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft."

On Thursday, CNN host Jake Tapper interviewed former Army pilot Richard Krell, who told him that he piloted the helicopter flight.

He contradicted part of Williams' apology, saying that their helicopter took gunfire, but nothing more.

"We took small-arms fire. All I know is one RPG was fired. It struck the lead aircraft, which was what we call six rotor discs in front of me," said Krell.

Later Thursday, things got more confusing when the New York Post published an article penned by former Army pilot Chris Simeone, who also claimed to be the pilot of the Williams helicopter flight.

"I was the pilot in command of the flight that carried Brian Williams into Iraq in March 2003," he wrote. "We were a flight of two, and I was the rear aircraft."

He said that the helicopters never received fire of any kind.

He also said that Williams erred not only in his original story, but also in his apology when he claimed that an aircraft flying ahead of his in the fleet was hit with enemy fire.

Simeone wrote that when his and Williams' flight landed in the Objective Rams region, they parked next to a chopper on a separate mission that had indeed received fire.

"Brian Williams and crew recorded footage of this parked aircraft. The 'Big Windy' aircraft was not part of our unit. It was not part of our flight. We were not flying 'behind' them. Our missions were completely separate."

Krell and Simeone's accounts clearly conflict, and it appears the imposter is Krell.

The New York Times reported this week that Williams' two-helicopter fleet was piloted by Christopher Simeone and Allan Kelly — not Krell.

That said, it appears that Williams lied about receiving enemy fire in his original tale, and lied again in his apology, saying he was in a helicopter that was "following" a chopper that was fired upon. Neither are true, according to Simeone.

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Richard Krell and Chris Simeone both claim to be the pilot who carried Brian Williams during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and now audiences are asking: Who's lying?
brian williams, chopper, tale, pilots
Friday, 06 February 2015 11:08 AM
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