An IDF Eurocopter AS 565MA Atalef, operated by 193 Squadron, crashed into the sea at night off Bat Galim beach, Haifa. The helicopter had been airborne for about an hour, taking part in a training exercise at the time of the accident say the IDF.
One crew member was rescued. The two pilots (a Lt Col and Major) were discovered after a long search and didn’t survive the crash.
IDF search-and-rescue teams pulled the other two crew members from the water and carried out resuscitation efforts but were unable to revive them.
The two were later named Lt. Col. Erez Sachyani and Maj. Chen Fogel. Their families have been notified, the IDF said in a statement.
Sachyani, 38, a father of three, served as the deputy commander of the Ramat David Air Base. Fogel, 27, served as a pilot and deputy commander in the 193rd Squadron, which operates out of Ramat David. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of major from the captain, the military said.
The IDF said the survivor was a naval patrol officer. The type of helicopter that crashed is usually crewed by a pilot, a co-pilot, and a naval officer.
The helicopter went down in the Mediterranean Sea just off the port city of Haifa. The crash happened close enough to the coast for city residents to see flames from the shore and call it into police.
The helicopter was flying at a low altitude prior to the crash.