Disaster struck late Monday night when an Israel Navy helicopter crashed while conducting a training flight off the coast of the port city of Haifa. Military officials confirmed early Tuesday morning that two pilots were killed. A third officer aboard the flight survived and was taken to the hospital.
Tuesday saw intensive efforts to retrieve the wreckage from the sea. Meanwhile, the IDF has suspended all helicopter flights until the cause of the accident can be clarified.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered his condolences to the families of the crash victims and wished the injured officer a speedy recovery. “The Israeli people will not forget the sacrifices they have made day and night for the security of the country,” said Bennett.
The helicopter is a Eurocopter AS565 Panther, which is the Atalef (Hebrew for “bat”) by the Israel Air Force. These helicopters have been in use for 25 years.