Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Israeli military helicopter crashes, killing 2

An Israeli military helicopter crashed during a routine training flight, killing two crew members.

Lt. Col. Noam Ron, 49, of Oranit, and Maj. Erez Flekser, 31, of Haifa -- both veteran military reservists -- were killed when their Bell AH-1 Cobra crashed early Tuesday morning in southern Israel as it traveled from the training flight to the Palmachim Air Base. The families of the two pilots were notified.

A search for the helicopter began after radio contact was lost at 1 a.m. The remains of the helicopter were discovered at about 5 a.m., the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, the commander of the Israeli Air and Space Force, ordered an investigation and grounded all Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters until the circumstances of the accident were clarified.

Cobras, which are manufactured in the United States, have been part of the Israeli Air Force since the mid-1970s, according to Haaretz. Some used first by the U.S. Air Force are nearly 40 years old, though they have been upgraded over the years.


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