On Sunday, a plane crash off Israel’s coast put the skills of the IDF’s Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669 to the test.

On Sunday, the IDF’s Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669 came to the aid of an Israel Air Force pilot and navigator whose plane crashed 50 kilometers off Israel’s coast. The survivors had ejected from their aircraft, landing in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

The elite rescue team identified the survivors from an IDF Black Hawk helicopter and descended to their crash site. After pulling the flight crew onto rafts, the rescuers checked the condition of both survivors, determining them to be unharmed from the accident.

Within seconds, the rescuers placed the pilot and navigator into harnesses and lifted them into the safety of the helicopter.

Unexpectedly, a distinguished guest appeared to offer help. Moments after the start of the mission, IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz joined the team’s efforts. Working side-by-side with the rescue team, he personally helped lift the survivors to safety.

IDF Evacuation Squad Rescues Survivors of Plane Crash

IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz worked closely with rescuers to evacuate survivors of an IAF plane crash on Sunday.

 

Just last week, the Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669 prepared to deal with an almost identical situation in a special training exercise. From helicopters hovering above the sea, soldiers from the unit descended one-by-one to the scene of a simulated plane crash. The team swam to a group of soldiers acting as survivors and quickly lifted them into their helicopter.

 

IDF Evacuation Squad Rescues Survivors of Plane Crash
An Excercise of the IDF Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669
IDF Evacuation Squad Rescues Survivors of Plane Crash
An Excercise of the IDF Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669
IDF Evacuation Squad Rescues Survivors of Plane Crash
An Excercise of the IDF Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669
IDF Evacuation Squad Rescues Survivors of Plane Crash
An Excercise of the IDF Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669

“The goal of the training is to maintain our competence in a sea rescue,” Lieutenant D., the commander of a combat rescue team, said days before the real-life accident. “There could be a pilot who ejected into the water, and we would have to rescue him quickly.”

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