Hiker finds helmet of fallen IDF pilot Danny Gori – 36 years later

In response to the discovery, Gori's daughter Dana, who was born only two months after the crash, was ecstatic upon hearing the news.

IAF soldier inspect helmet of missing pilot Danny Gori.  (photo credit: IDF)
IAF soldier inspect helmet of missing pilot Danny Gori.
(photo credit: IDF)
A hiker trekking in southern Israel recently found the helmet of IAF pilot Maj. Danny Gori, who went missing in 1984 when his plane crashed during a training exercise. His remains were eventually found and he was laid to rest in Rehovot.
“I can’t find words to describe the harsh sense of shock every cell in my body has,” said Gori’s daughter Dana, who was born two months after his death. “I am writing and tears are choking my throat. I have no air.”
The helmet was discovered close to Nahal Paran, a river close to Moshav Paran along the Jordanian border, the IDF said in a press release.
The hiker who found Gori’s helmet initially posted his discovery on Facebook. He displayed pictures of the helmet, including one that showed Gori’s name written in Hebrew on the inside.
The hiker was not aware of the value of the helmet when he found it and therefore left it there. However, when the post was discovered by the army, representatives of the IAF’s missing persons and investigative branch contacted him to determine the exact location.
“Nobody knew this helmet was her dad’s,” the hiker said in an interview translated on News 1. “If we had known, we probably would have done things differently. It only hit us when we were already in the car on the way home. But when we realized, we wanted to return to the area and bring it back to Gori’s family.”
Instead, he said, the IAF representatives ensured him they would take care of it.
A team was established to locate and return the helmet to Gori’s family. It included members of Unit 669, the elite combat search and rescue unit, investigators and researchers from the IAF and a helicopter crew from Squadron 123 (“Desert Birds”), which divided the search area into sections until the helmet was found.
“The helmet was picked up by the Air Force and taken in for further investigation,” the IAF said in a statement over the weekend. “We thank the citizen for his vigilance.”
Gori was drafted into the IDF’s pilot school in 1969 and graduated as a combat pilot, later joining the 119th Fighter Squadron. Throughout his service, he participated in a number of military operations and wars in the 1970s, including in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Following his release from conscripted service, Gori continued to play an important role in his reserve duty, serving as an instructor at the IAF pilot school, an emergency pilot and commander of the 140th Squadron.
On May 27, 1984, Gori, who was 32 at the time, was taking part in a training session with one of his students when his plane crashed. Gori and his student apparently failed to eject from the plane in time. He and his student, Ilan Rosenthal, perished.
Gori’s daughter was ecstatic about the find.
“Dozens of representatives from all the media bodies in Israel have [asked] me to do an interview to share our story with the people of Israel,” she told News 1, adding that “as [the initial shock] passed, I didn’t know what I was excited about.”
She said she was grateful to have this artifact from her father.
“This country is strewn and scattered with the personal items and objects that fell” alongside those who fought for Israel, she said. “Be sensitive.”