plane crash 224.
(photo credit: Channel 1)
Four people were killed when a small aircraft crashed near Moshav Batzra, north of Ra'anana, on Friday afternoon.
The four were the pilot of the Cessna 172 plane - a woman - and three men, two of them brothers. They were identified as 33-year-old Menahem (Menny) Ben-Zecharia, from Netanya, 32-year-old Aviram Pasternak, from Hadera, his 25-year-old brother Itai and 30-year-old pilot Eliav Arbel from Karmei Yosef.
Magen David Adom paramedics pronounced two dead immediately; shortly thereafter, two additional bodies were located.
The plane had taken off from the Herzliya airport; the cause of the crash has not been determined. Yitzhak Raz, head accident investigator for the Transportation Ministry, was called to the scene.
According to witnesses, the plane went down on farmland, some 50 meters away from homes on the moshav. Upon impact, it burst into flames and broke apart, its pieces scattering in all directions.
Police opened an investigation into whether the crash was caused by human error or a technical fault.
A sister of the Pasternak brothers, Tal, said on Saturday night that the flight had been a late gift to Menny for his birthday.
"They were amazing brothers, people who really loved life, and they had many friends," she told Israel Radio. "Menny was Aviram's best friend, and they invited him to join the flight for his birthday, which turned out to be their last."
Friday's crash was the second fatal airplane accident in a week. On Wednesday, Cpt. (res.) Matan Asa, 24, a veteran Israel Air Force pilot, and Pvt. Carmi Elan, 19, were killed when their training plane crashed in the Negev. An initial inquiry focused on the likelihood that the crash was caused by human error.
The plane that crashed in that incident was a French-made Fouga Magister - known in the IAF as a "Zukit" - which serves as the branch's primary training aircraft.
Three months ago, a single-engine aircraft crashed while attempting to land near Haifa, killing three.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>