Report: Prosecutors fumed over Mandelblit’s secret plea deal talks with Netanyahu
A deadly helicopter crash last Monday was caused by a fire in the left motor, but the underlying issue that prompted the malfunction remains unclear, according to an interim report on the investigation into the accident. The probe is also unable to determine why the pilots — Lt. Col.
Erez Sachyani and Major Chen Fogel — were unable to escape the aircraft, but determines that the rescue teams who arrived at the scene shortly after the crash would not have been able to pull them out in time to save them. In light of the lingering questions about the cause of the crash, Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin ordered the fleet of Eurocopter AS565 Panther helicopters to remain grounded, the military says. “Every accident is preventable.
We will turn over every stone in order to perform an accurate and professional investigation, using all of the resources needed, to understand the cause of this accident,” Norkin says in a statement.
Washed up parts of a military helicopter lie on the ground after it crashed off the coast of Haifa on the night of January 3, 2022. (Alon Nadav/Flash90) According to the interim report, the initial malfunction in the left motor occurred when the aircraft was 700 to 800 meters (2,297 to 2,625 feet) above the Mediterranean Sea. The fire caused the cabin to fill with smoke, and it quickly spread to the right motor as well.
Over the course of roughly two minutes, from the fire first starting to the helicopter hitting the water, the pilots activated the aircraft’s fire suppression systems, shut down some electrical systems to prevent the blaze from spreading further and activated the naval helicopter’s flotation system, according to the report. The investigators credited the pilots’ quick actions and their “relatively balanced” landing of the aircraft on the water with saving the life of a naval officer who was on board the helicopter at the time. The officer, Capt.
Ron Birman, was pulled from the water shortly after the crash with a broken vertebra and mild hypothermia, after trying in vain to rescue the pilots.
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