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2 Israeli air force pilots die in crash moments before landing

By Mason White 1:03 PM March 12, 2013
Noam Ron with his family 
Erez Flekser with his wife 

By: Ryan Lee Hall
(Scroll down for video) 2 highly experienced air force pilots died after their helicopter crashed minutes before landing, according to a statement made by Israeli military officials.

The two Air Force pilots, Noam Ron, 49, from Oranit, and Erez Flekser, 31, from Herzliya, died in the helicopter crash in southern Revadim Gedera area on Tuesday. Contact with Cobra helicopter was lost on Monday night which led military forces to initiate a search.

Air Force Commander General Amir Eshel ordered the creation of a military commission for a special inquiry. The victims’ families have been notified.

At about 1:00 am, a citizen driving on Highway 3 reported seeing a large object falling through the air in a wheat field near Kibbutz Revadim. Magen David Adom and Israeli Defense Forces from the rescue units were called to the scene.

Additionally, Air Force planes searched the area. Around 5:00 am, part of the propeller of the helicopter was found. Earlier, defense officials speculated that the helicopter had fallen into a water tank in the area where more helicopter remains could be found.

Air Force sources said that since the two pilots were highly experienced, it is likely that the accident was caused by a technical failure.

Air Force Commander General Amir Eshel arrived on the scene and met with the research team investigating the circumstances behind the accident. He grounded all Cobra helicopters until the investigation is completed.

The Israeli army said that the helicopter had left a base in central Israel for a routine training flight along with another helicopter that returned to Palmachim base.

During the training excercise contact with the helicopter was lost. The last communication from the pilots was that there are just a few minutes left until landing. The helicopter did not explode in the air, but it crashed into the ground.