Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IAF Helicopter Crash

A SAD UPDATE:

Seven Confirmed Dead in IAF Helicopter Crash in Romania (From the IDF)

The IDF recently received official information from Romania confirming seven deaths at the scene of the IAF ‘Yasur’ (CH-53) helicopter crash in Romania.

Representatives from the IDF Rabbinate and the Casualty Identification Center, who arrived with the IDF delegation in Romania this morning, are preparing to arrive at the site in order to verify this information.

IDF officials have informed the families of the information received.

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Please continue to pray for our missing air force personnel and for our friends in Romania. Thank you.

Searches are currently underway for 6 IAF personnel and 1 Romanian Air Force member who have been declared missing following a helicopter crash (From the IDF)

On Monday afternoon (July 26) during an Israeli Air Force exercise in Romania, a Yisur CH-53 series heavy-lift transport helicopter carrying seven people crashed. Among those onboard the helicopter were six Israelis – four pilots and two aerial mechanics- and one member of the Romanian Air Force.

The names of the six Israelis who have been declared missing following the helicopter crash have been released. Those six soldiers who were on board the helicopter which crashed in Romania are: Lt. Col. (res.) Avner Goldmam (48) from Modiin; Lt. Col. Daniel Shipenbauer (43) from Kidron; Maj. Yahel Keshet (33) from Hatzerim; Maj. Lior Shai (28) from Tel Nof; Lt. Nir Lakrif (25) from Tel Nof; and Sgt. 1st Class Oren Cohen (24) from Rehovot.

The IDF has notified the families of the crew members about the incident, and extensive searches are already taking place at the scene.

IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, has assembled an investigatory team led by an IAF officer at the rank of Brigadier General, and along with Romanian Air Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Ion-Aurel Stanciu, has agreed to a joint examination into the incident carried out by representatives from both militaries.

Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, to update them on the incident. The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement reporting that, “The Prime Minister is worriedly following updates arriving from Romania and is discussing them with the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff. The Prime Minister wishes to bolster the force of soldiers and commanders who were in the helicopter representing the IDF and the State of Israel, and he is sending them a warm embrace on behalf of the entire nation.”

The IAF helicopter was in Romania within the framework of the IAF’s greater cooperation with various foreign militaries, whereby Israeli forces train in foreign militaries’ territory and vice versa. Romanian geography includes challenging terrains unfamiliar to Israel, and the IAF was training there in order to gain experience which may be needed in a future conflict.

On Monday evening (July 26) IDF Spokesperson Brig. Gen Avi Benayahu explained the IAF presence in the foreign country, saying that, “We are in Romania in order to train our soldiers in territories most similarly resembling our areas of fighting.” He continued, “The exercise that the helicopter was participating in was carried out in order to train the IAF in an unknown area of mountainous terrain, in order to prepare the Corps for war or special operations.”

The IAF is currently preparing a Hercules aircraft to depart Monday evening, or early Tuesday morning the latest, for Romania, carrying search and rescue personnel, IAF officials, IDF Military Rabbinate personnel, medical personnel, representatives from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit and the above mentioned investigatory team, and is scheduled to land at the base from which the crashed helicopter took off.

In reference to the joint investigation into the incident by both Israeli and Romanian military personnel, Brig. Gen. Benayahu said the Israeli team, which he said would perform the investigation in the best way possible, would be led by a Brigadier General from within the helicopter formation of the IAF, “Seeing as this is an aerial incident which requires investigation into all of the circumstances and factors.”

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