Israeli Army Helicopter Crashes; One Pilot Dead, Another Seriously Injured

Apache helicopter crash in south sees veteran pilot killed, younger pilot in hospital

File photo: An Israeli AH-64 Apache helicopter lands at the Ramon air force base in the Negev Desert, southern Israel, on October 21, 2013.
AFP Photo / Jack Guez

An Apache helicopter crashed near the Ramon Air Force base in the south of Israel on Monday with two crew members inside. One of the two was killed in the incident and the other was seriously injured.

Maj. David Zohar, a 43-year-old veteran pilot serving in reserve duty, who died Monday, August 8, 2017, after the military helicopter he was in crashed in southern Israel, wounding his younger copilot

The Israel Defense Forces identified the deceased pilot on Tuesday morning as Maj. David Zohar, a 43-year-old veteran pilot serving in reserve duty. 

The pilots were on their way back to the base after a training flight when a technical malfunction was reported around 9 P.M. According to the Israeli army's spokesman, the helicopter crashed near the landing pad at the base.

A military helicopter evacuated the injured Israeli Air Force pilot, a relatively young first lieutenant who was seated in the helicopter's backseat, to a hospital in Be'er Sheva.

The army's Apache helicopters were only re-commisioned in July, after the discovery of a large crack in the back rotor blade of one of the helicopters in June saw the army's two Apache squadrons grounded and subjected to inspection.

Last month, a Golani officer was killed after being accidentally shot by a soldier during a drill in Hebron. Following last month's incident the General Staff Forum held a debate on safety in the IDF.

In 2016, an IAF pilot was killed when he ejected from his F-16I fighter jet after returning from an airstrike mission in the Gaza Strip. The slightly altered Israeli version of the American-built F-16 has crashed three times during its use by the Israeli Air Force.

In 2013, an Israeli military helicopter crashed near Kibbutz Revadim in the south, killing the two pilots aboard.