The well seasoned reserve duty Israel Air Force pilots were on a routine training exercise, taking off from the Palmachim Base in the center of the country. Close to 01:30 on Tuesday morning 1 Nissan 5773, communications between the control tower and the Cobra helicopter were lost and the IAF immediately implemented the appropriate procedures.
The chopper and the bodies of the pilots z”l were found in a field near Kibbutz Revadim south of Gadera about an hour later. A second chopper that took part in the same training exercise reported back to base without incident.
Officials add the crew of the ill-fated chopper did not report a malfunction or send any distress message. A full investigation has been ordered by Air Force Commander Major-General Amir Eshel. The families of the niftarim z”l were notified during the night.
Officials add that a propeller from the chopper was found at about 05:00 this morning. It is also reported that a citizen driving on Route 3 reported seeing a large object fall from the sky shortly after 01:00. And finally, it is being reported that the chopper did not explode in the air, but crashed on the ground.
12:57 IL: It is now permitted to release the names of the pilots who perished in the crash. Killed in the crash were Lt.-Colonel Noam Ron z”l, 49, from Oranit and Major Erez Flekser z”l, 31, from Haifa.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)