PM’s Office insists was no delay in ordering ‘Super Tanker’

Representative of US aircraft company said he offered to send plane to Israel on first day of fire.

December 15, 2010 03:13
1 minute read.
AN IDF soldier watches the firefighting operation

Carmel Firefighting Plane 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday denied claims by an Israeli representative of the US “EverGreen” company that the government had initially refused to rent the company’s Super Tanker firefighting aircraft.

“The Prime Minister’s military secretary, Maj.-Gen. Yohanan Locker, who found out about the plane, made the prime minister aware of its existence on the first day of the fire, Thursday evening. Netanyahu instructed Locker to immediately order the plane and, in fact, contact was made with Ever- Green, the firefighting plane’s owner, on Thursday night at 10:00 p.m.,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

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EverGreen’s representative in Israel, Yoram Gavron, was quoted on Israel Radio as saying that the company offered its services to the Foreign Ministry Thursday night, but was turned down. Gavron said that he passed on the proposal soon after it was approved by the president of his company.

The plane only arrived in Israel Saturday night, and Gavron was quoted as saying that had it arrived sooner, it could have reduced the overall damage to the Carmel forest.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said that the Foreign Ministry’s situation room received a fax from the company Thursday evening, and by 10 that night the Prime Minister’s Office had called the company.

The Evergreen Super Tanker is the world’s largest aerial firefighting plane, with a capacity of carrying 80,000 liters of water and fire retardant.

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