AH-1 Cobra Two air crewmembers were killed last night in a practice flight in the Shfela area. The families have been notified. IAF Commander has instructed the founding of a force investigative committee and the grounding of the Cobra Helicopter Formation until circumstances are cleared
Two air crew members were killed last night in a Cobra combat helicopter crash in the Shfela area.
Around 1:00 AM last night, communication was lost with the helicopter that was on its way from Tel Nof Airbase to Palmachim Airbase. An extensive crew of Search & Rescue forces, including helicopters UAVs and ground forces, were brought to the area to begin the search. In the early morning hours, remains of the helicopter and the bodies of the two crewmembers were located.
The identified victims are Major Erez Flexer, 31, from Heifa and Lieutenant Colonel Noam Ron, 49, from Oranit.
The AH-1 Cobra helicopter has been serving in the IAF since April 1975 and is a major partner in the operational activity of the force. The first combat helicopter marked numerous flights in precise attacks and in assistance to ground forces. Throughout the years, four Cobra helicopters have crashed.
- In September of 1985 a Cobra helicopter crashed in the Kineret and the crew was successfully rescued.
- On March 18th 1987, Commmander of the “First Cobras” squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Tzion Bar-Or, was killed in an accident. The helicopter had fallen from an altitude of 300 feet and crashed as a result of a technical issue. The frontal pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Yuval Wagner, was severely injured.
- On March 15th 2008 a Cobra helicopter crashes at sea during a practice flight along the beaches of Netanya, as a result of technical issues. Its pilots, Brigadier General Shmuel Eldar, Commander of Palmachim Airbase, and Second Lieutenant Ilan Gur are killed.
- On September 10th 2008, a Cobra helicopter crashes near Kibbutz Ganiger , mere minutes after its takeoff from Ramat David Airbase. The two pilots, Yucal Holtzman and Shay Danor are killed.