By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Military helicopter crashes in Israel, killing 2
Placeholder Image
    JERUSALEM — A military helicopter crashed at sundown Wednesday in northern Israel and burst into flames, the military said, and two crew members were killed, according to media reports.
    Channel 10 TV said two Cobra attack helicopters were flying in formation. One helicopter lost its rotor and went down near the Israeli town of Afula, killing two people, the rescue service and Israeli media said.
    Channel 10 TV reported the two dead were the pilot and weapons officer on the stricken helicopter. The report said the helicopter was about 40 years old and is not capable of carrying passengers.
    Brig. General Avi Benayahu, the chief military spokesman, told Channel 10 TV the two aircraft did not collide and said the helicopter crashed about 10 minutes after takeoff from the Ramat David air base. ‘‘The lead helicopter (pilot) lost eye contact with the second helicopter,’’ he said, and then heard the explosion. ‘‘According to procedure, he landed next to the downed helicopter,’’ he said.
    Benayahu said the air force would investigate the cause of the crash.
    Motti Navon, who witnessed the crash, told Israel Radio that two Cobra helicopters were flying overhead. ‘‘Suddenly we saw a rotor fall off’’ one of the helicopters, he said, and it crashed to the ground. ‘‘There was a huge explosion,’’ he said. Witnesses said the second helicopter was apparently not damaged and continued its flight.
    The last crash involving Cobra attack helicopters was in July 2006, during Israel’s monthlong war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. An air force officer was killed when two choppers collided near the border.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter