Israel's Independence Day.
(photo credit: ILLUSTRATIVE: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
to a military prison over a near-collision by two new Samson (Super Hercules) transport planes during the Independence Day flyover last week.
The planes’ other 10 crew members were grounded, the IDF said.
“Last week, the Independence Day flyover investigation ended. Following the investigation, immediate steps were taken regarding the flight procedures in the control tower. The aircraft crews were grounded for various periods. The pilots of the planes were also sentenced to prison. The air force views such incidents seriously and investigates them in depth to prevent their recurrence,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
During the investigation it was discovered that the pilots did not observe the safety rules requiring them to keep a safe minimum distance in order to prevent collision. According to Channel 2 the IAF has issued new rules for pilots and crew members during flights.
While the army would not go into detail about where the near-collision happened, videos posted online and aired by Channel 2 showed the two planes dangerously close to each other over the coast of Tel Aviv. One witness who saw last Tuesday’s air show told The Jerusalem Post
that he thought it was part of the show.
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“I saw the planes extremely close to each other and I thought it was part of the drill,” he said, adding that he didn’t see the two wingtips touch.
The pilots only became aware of the incident after the planes touched down at Nevatim Air Base, southeast of Beersheba, when ground crews noticed scuff marks on the wings of the two planes. While no other damage was caused, the pilots reported the incident to their commanders who launched the investigation. Evidence was taken by the ground crews for the investigation.
The army said that while it was “serious security incident,” no lives were endangered at any time.