Israel Air Force Grob G 120 Light Trainer Aircraft impacted open field terrain under unknown circumstances near Beersheba, Israel, and was completely destroyed by the post crash fire and the two occupants onboard were fatally injured.
The dead were identified as an instructor, a major in reserves who flew F-16s, and a cadet who was four months into the IAF’s training program.
The two had taken off from the IAF flight school at Hatzor Airbase who had been flying in a Grob G-120 “Snunit” (Swallow) aircraft.
An IAF helicopter from the 669 Search and Rescue Unit and Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene of the crash, near the town of Mishmar Hanegev, north of Beersheba, shortly after the incident and found two men unconscious. They were later pronounced dead at the scene.
Photos of the scene showed aircraft parts scattered across the field, with parts of them burning.
“When I arrived at the scene I found two young men who sustained critical injuries due to their aircraft having crashed. Unfortunately, they were both pronounced dead at the scene,” said United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yosef Abu Jafer who was one of the first responders at the scene.
Their bodies were later taken by helicopter to Shamir Medical Center in central Israel before being transferred to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine.
IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said that the military has begun investigating the crash, which occurred around 11:30 a.m.
“There are many things we don’t know, we are only a few hours after the crash,” he said, adding that they are looking into several options, including a technical malfunction.
“From what we understand, there had been no communication between the plane and the tower at the time of the crash and the weather had been good,” he said.
The “Snunit,” which the IAF began using in 2002, are leased by Elbit, which is also in charge of maintaining them. The seats of the plane are side by side, with the cadet and instructor sitting next to each other.