IAF Airmen Killed in Romania Crash Laid to Rest in Israel

Speaking at the service of Oren Cohen in Rehovot, a former commander said that a once spectacular Romanian landscape turned 'into a death trap.'

Hundreds attended the funeral services of the six Israeli airmen killed in a helicopter crash in Romania earlier this week.

Lieutenant Nir Lakrif's funeral in Haifa.
Hagai Frid

An Israel Air Force plane carrying the bodies of the six soldiers killed in a training accident during the 10-day joint exercise in Romania arrived at the Tel Nof base on earlier Friday.

Speaking at the funeral of Lieutenant Nir Lakrif in Haifa, Lakrif's wife Maggie Malul said "my love, we are bidding farewell in your way, through the sky."

"I promise that I will bravely perform the task that you bequeathed me, I will bring up our small one as you were brought up," Malul, who is four-months pregnant, said, adding that she expected Lakrif to "watch over her all the time and be with me as you are now."

Lakrif's father added at the funeral, which was attended by Israel Defense Forces officers as well as Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, that his son left "a vacuum which will never be filled."

IAF team arrives home after Romania crash
IDF spokesperson's office

Hundreds of people also attended the funeral of Staff Sergeant Oren Cohen in Rehovot, a former squadron commander eulogized the fallen serviceman, saying that already during their "first talk I already realized that he was a superb student and fighter."

"You helped prepare the helicopters for their training in Romania, a mission of utmost importance for the IAF," the former commander said, adding that the Romanian landscape had been spectacular," but that in a split second all "tuned into a death trap."

The funerals for the rest of the Israeli airmen will be held over the course of the afternoon on Friday.
• The funeral of Lt. Colonel (res.) Avner Goldman took place place at 12:15 PM in Modi'in.
• Lt. Colonel Daniel Shipenbauer was buried at 3:00 PM in Gdarot.
• Major Yahel Keshetwill was buried at 1:00 PM in Sharona.
• Major Lior Shai was buried at 2:00 PM in Hod Hasharon.

Medicals teams encountered difficulties on Thursday in making the final identifications of the bodies, due to logistical problems involving the transfer of the bodies between military bases and hospitals within Romania, and also because of the condition of the bodies themselves.

Some of the bodies were removed from the site by Romanian soldiers before the Israeli teams had ever arrived, making the identification process more difficult.

Meanwhile, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced Thursday that several of the victims had been promoted posthumously.