Human Error Cited as Three Hurt in Latrun Helicopter Crash

Three people were injured in a helicopter crash yesterday near the Armored Corps Memorial Site in Latrun. The crash was apparently due to human error, initial investigations show.

The MD-500 helicopter was preparing to lift off from a refueling stop when it struck an unidentified object and fell 10 meters to the ground.

The helicopter suffered serious damage, but its three occupants were extricated with only light to moderate injuries and taken to the hospital.

A team headed by the Transportation Ministry's chief aviation accident investigator is inquiring into the circumstances of the incident.

The helicopter was being used to clean high-voltage power cables. Haaretz has learned that it was being operated in an experimental flight by the El-Op company, a subsidiary of the electronic systems manufacturer Elbit.

A worrying trend

Yesterday's incident is the second aviation accident in two months involving civilian aircraft.

In December of last year, four people were killed when a Robinson chopper plummeted into the water off the coast of Netanya.

That crash led to the temporary grounding of all choppers of the same model.