Naval officer who survived deadly helicopter crash walks out of hospital

Cpt. Ron Birman was the sole survivor of the crash. He was able to escape the helicopter before it sank with the two pilots inside but was unable to rescue the two pilots.

 Israeli soldiers search for parts of a crashed military helicopter after a military helicopter crashed off the coast of the northern Israeli city of Hafia, January 4, 2022.  (photo credit: SHIR TOREM/FLASH90)
Israeli soldiers search for parts of a crashed military helicopter after a military helicopter crashed off the coast of the northern Israeli city of Hafia, January 4, 2022.
(photo credit: SHIR TOREM/FLASH90)

The naval officer who was injured in the deadly crash of an Atalef AS565 Panther helicopter off the coast of Haifa Monday night has been discharged from the hospital.

Capt. Ron Birman thanked the staff of Rambam Hospital for their support as he walked out of the building.

Birman was the sole survivor of the crash. He was able to escape the helicopter before it sank with the two pilots inside. He called the squadron commander by phone and told him they had made an emergency landing at sea, and while he had attempted to rescue the other crew members, he was unable.

Birman was rescued from the sea shortly after the crash, and flown to Rambam Hospital in moderate condition.

The two fatalities were identified as 38-year-old Lt.-Col Erez Sachiani, who was married with three children and who served as deputy commander of Ramat David airbase, and 27-year-old Maj. Hen Fogel.

 From left: 38-year-old Lt.-Col Erez Sachaini and 27-year-old Major Hen Fogel, the two soldiers killed in the helicopter crash on January 3, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) From left: 38-year-old Lt.-Col Erez Sachaini and 27-year-old Major Hen Fogel, the two soldiers killed in the helicopter crash on January 3, 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

It is still unclear why the two pilots were unable to exit the helicopter.