4 killed in Michigan plane crash

3 Israelis teens and pilot grandfather die in crash, 1 teen survives.

By
July 15, 2010 05:03
2 minute read.
Menora family

311_plane crash victims. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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What started out as a fun-filled adventure for Israeli teens visiting their grandfather in the US ended in tragedy on Wednesday.

The grandfather, Moshe Menora, an Israeli expatriate living in Skokie, Illinois, crashed the light plane he was piloting over Michigan with four of his grandchildren on board.

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Menora, 73, Rivka, 15, Rachel, 16, and Sara Klein, 17, all died in the crash. Rivka and Rachel were both from Beit Shemesh. Klein, the daughter of Menora’s oldest daughter, was from Jerusalem.

Grandson Yossi Menora, 13, was hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns.



He was in the backseat of the aircraft, which crashed shortly after takeoff from a small airport outside Chicago, and was ejected from the plane during the accident. He was rushed to a Michigan hospital, where he remains unconscious, and is being treated by burns specialists.

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According to wire reports, the six-passenger twin engine Beechcraft Model 58It, which was headed to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, crashed on Interstate 75. It hit the median barrier, flipped over and landed in the southbound lanes. Haaretz reported that a fire broke out in the cabin.

Moshe Menora had been flying planes for 30 years, and had flown with his grandchildren many times. He was born in Haifa and had lived in the United States for 52 years. He worked in real estate.

Sholom Menora, Moshe’s son and the father of Rivka, Rachel and Yossi, who was in Florida at the time of the crash, told Channel 2 News on Wednesday, “I suddenly got a call from the hospital... They said, ‘Your son has been badly injured in a plane accident... and that there were no other survivors.’ The head understands but emotionally I do not understand.”

Sholom Menora said the plane split in half. The girls were in the front half and Yossi was in the rear.

Yehuda Menora, the brother of Rivka and Rahel, is currently serving in the IDF. He told Channel 2 that he was notified of the deaths early on Wednesday morning.

“It is safe to assume that if I had been there, I would have been on that plane,” he said.

Isaac Leader, a volunteer with the ZAKA USA rescue and recovery organization, told The Jerusalem Post by phone, “We are about to begin collecting their remains from the scene. “We are waiting for the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Authority to complete their investigation,” he added.

“The aircraft took off and then exploded,” Leader said. “The whole of the grass area here was on fire. Several burned-out aircraft pieces are on the ground.”

Leader said two members of the Detroit Jewish community were at Yossi Menora’s bedside.

”He will get the best possible care,” Leader said.

ZAKA helped in the evacuation of Yossi Menora at the site, in the search and removal of the bodies in accordance with Jewish law, and with contacting family members in Israel.

JTA contributed to this report.

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