A bitter series of accidents

A history of Israeli military crashes back to 1977.

IDF helicopter 311 (photo credit: AP [illustrative])
IDF helicopter 311
(photo credit: AP [illustrative])
• May 1977 – A CH-53 slams into a hill during a night training exercise near Jericho, killing all 54 on board.
• September 1984 – Five soldiers die when a Bell 212 crashes near Beit She’an.
• December 1988 – Pilot dies when his CH- 53 crashes during a border-marking mission north of Eilat.
• April 1990 – Seven airmen are killed when two CH-53s collide near Ofra during a training exercise.
• July 1992 – A crewman is killed when a helicopter crashes into the sea off Rosh Hanikra during a rescue drill.
• January 1994 – OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nehemia Tamari and three other officers die when their helicopter crashes in fog near the Central Command landing pad in northern Jerusalem.
• December 1994 – A CH-53 crashes at Palmahim beach while trying to lift heavy cargo. Three crewmen die.
• March 1996 – Seven are killed when a CH- 53 crashes in the Judean Desert while practicing a clandestine troop insertion. The helicopter was completely burned and IAF investigators never determined if it was a technical malfunction or human error. There were two survivors.
• September 1996 – Three die when a Navy Dolphin helicopter crashes off Rosh Hanikra. The cause was never determined. One of the three bodies was never found.
• February 1997 – Two CH-53s collide over Kibbutz She’ar Yashuv while ferrying combat troops to Lebanon. All 73 aboard are killed in the worst air accident in IAF history.
• July 2006 – Two Cobra attack helicopters collide near Ramot Naftali, in the Upper Galilee, while on their way to assist IDF ground troops in the Second Lebanon War. One crewman dies, three others are injured.
• July 2006 – An Apache helicopter gunship heading to Lebanon, again to assist ground troops, crashes, killing two soldiers near Safed.
• September 2008 – A Cobra crashes during a routine drill after its tail breaks away, killing both crew members. The helicopter took off from the Ramat David Air Base in the north.