An Israel Air Force Cobra chopper crashed in northern Israel on Wednesday evening Israel time, in the Jezreel Valley area. It is reported the chopper went up in flames. Preliminary information states it is believed the cause was rotor malfunction.
The Tzefa (Cobra) chopper as it is called in the IAF crashed during a training flight over Kibbutz Gingegar, near the Ramat David base.
Air force officials report two choppers took off uneventfully for a training exercise when according to eyewitnesses, the chopper’s main rotor disconnected from the craft, leading to the crash. MDA ambulances and firefighters were dispatched along with senior military personnel. The second chopper made an unscheduled landing in the hope off assisting at the scene as well. Normally, the Tzefa choppers fly with a two-man crew. It is being confirmed that the chopper did erupt in flames as it crashed.
Shortly after the impact, a number of explosions were heard, attributed to materials on board the craft. Military personnel were quick to cordon off the area to protect classified information and the crash scene.
MDA Paramedic Elad Shachar describes that upon his arrival at the scene, he saw chopper debris all around the area. Fire official Miki Cohen reports upon his arrival, the fire was intense and a water canon was needed to bring the initial blaze under control.
The choppers were part of the 160th Squadron, and they are relied upon heavily in combat situations such as the Second Lebanon War.
Further details will be posted as they become available to us.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)