IDF Helicopter Crash

IDF Helicopter Crash


  IDF Helicopter Crash:
Summary of Press Conference

Minister of Defense Yitzhak Mordechai, Chief of Staff Lt.Gen. Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, GOC Israel Air Force Maj.Gen. Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, and Director of Personnel Maj.Gen. Gideon Sheffer

(Communicated by IDF Spokesman)
February 5, 1997

In the worst air tragedy that the IDF has experienced, 73 soldiers and aircrew were killed yesterday (4 February). Two helicopters landed at the Mahanayim Landing Strip in order to pick up groups of soldiers to transport them to their posts in Southern Lebanon. Both helicopters were in good condition and all flight regulations were observed. The helicopters collided near the Lebanese border at approximately 19:00 hours, over the moshav She'ar Yashuv, and crashed. There were no survivors.

As of 02:00 hours, 25 bodies were positively identified and 47 families were notified. The effort to identify the bodies and notify the families continues.

The Chief of Staff and the Mnister of Defense spoke of the need for the Israeli public to unite during this tragic time. The Minister mentioned that Secretary of Defense William Cohen called to express the sorrow of the United States.

An inquiry committee was established, headed by Maj.Gen. (Res.) David Ivry, former GOC of the Israel Air Force and Director General of the Ministry of Defense. Other members include Maj.Gen. (Res.) Amos Yaron, former chief infantry and paratroops commander and director of personnel; retired Justice Chaim Shapira; General Ben-Zion Farhi, former President of the Military Court of Appeals; and Brig.Gen. Eldar of the IAF, who is a specialist in helicopters. The committee will arrive in the north at 07:00 hours, and will begin its inquiry. The Minister of Defense explained during the press conference the need for a committee of these experts due to the size of the disaster.

The Mnister also announced that an airplane from the US 6th Fleet lost radio contact and crashed, near the coast of Israel.

The Chief of Staff stated that all necessary conclusions will be drawn from the incident. He embraces the families of the fallen soldiers.

IAF Helicopter Accidents

7.71 A Sikorsky crashed near Yamit. Ten soldiers were killed.
4.74 Two Sikorskys collided at the Mahanayim landing strip. Eight soldiers and crew members were killed.
4.74 A Super Frelon helicopter crashed while evacuating injured soldiers on Mount Hermon. Six soldiers were killed.
5.77 54 paratroopers and crew members were killed in a crash of a Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter.
27.8.84 A Sikorsky collided with a mountain while trying to land near Maale Adumim. One soldier was killed.
9.84 Four soldiers were killed when a Bell 212 crashed during an exercise.
18.3.87 A Cobra helicopter crashed during flight training near Kibbutz Tirat Zvi. Lt.Col Zion Bar-Or was killed.
29.12.88 A Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter crashed during a flight to Mount Sagi. Capt. Mordechai Sharon was killed.
22.4.90 Two Skiorsky CH-53s crashed during a training exercise near Maale Ephraim and Mavo Shilo. Lt.Col. Hagai Kutsch, Major Shai Nordan Zafoni, Capt. Ilan Kaufman, Capt. Nimrod Pesahi, Warrant Officer Gideon Hanon, Sgt.Maj. Mordechai Goren and Sgt.Maj. Yaron Hadad were killed.
1.7.92 A Bell 212 helicopter crashed near Rosh Hanikra. On the helicopter were six soldiers, five of whom were saved by a navy ship. Staff Sgt. Gil Rosental was killed.
12.1.94 A Bell 206 helicopter crashed after it collided with an antenna during an attempt to land at the Central Command base. Maj.Gen. Nehemia Tamari, Major Ophir Kaufman, Lieut. Yoel Ofri and Lieut. Assaf Asher were killed.
6.12.94 A Bell 212 crashed near the center of the country while hovering in an engine test. Lieut. Shmuel Ben-Gershon and Staff Sgt. Moshe Cohen were killed.
31.3.96 A Sikorsky crashed shortly after take-off in the Judean desert, a few minutes after having landed a three-man squad during an exercise. As a result, Major Eyal Geller, Warrant Officer Ophir Schwartz, Staff Sgt. David Weizman, Corp. Lior Filgood, Corp. Guy Shapir, Corp. Doron Ezra and Corp. Inbal Tavasi were killed.
16.9.96 A Dolphin helicopter crashed off the coast of Naharia. Two officers were killed, one remains missing.

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