The actions taken by crewmembers of the IDF missile boat
that sustained a direct Hizbullah missile
hit Friday, prevented a great disaster that could have resulted in numerous casualties, an initial inquiry into the incident reveals.
Brigadier-General Noam Page of the Navy said in a press conference Saturday that the Navy was unaware that a missile threat existed in the sector, and that the boat's crew had acted accordingly.
Missile boats are equipped with a missile interception system capable of automatically intercepting any missile or aircraft approaching it. However, as the boat was operating in an area where a large number of IDF planes were present, the Navy had refrained from activating the system.
Navy sources said that had they known the Hizbullah was in possession of missiles of the type used against the boat Saturday, the missile interception system would have been turned on.
‘We’ve been hit’
The initial investigation revealed that at 8:45 p.m. crewmembers on board the vessel were preparing for Shabbat dinner when a loud blat was heard. One of the ship’s commanders has informed the Navy’s control command: “We’ve been hit.” In the first few minutes after the strike, it was unclear what hit the boat, and the sailors concentrated on extinguishing the fire that broke out at the landing pad after 50 kilograms of explosives penetrated the vessel’s body.
Large Navy and Air Force units were dispatched to the place and began assisting the forces on board the boat.
Simultaneously, the crew conducted a damage control routine aimed at establishing what systems sustained damages in the attack. At the first stage it was decided to pull the boat away from its position using another boat, and at the same time to surround it with additional crafts in order to protect it from being hit again.
A senior Navy official said Saturday that the fire on board has repeatedly erupted after being extinguished as a result of the heat absorbed by metal objects on the boat. Only after the crew managed to contain the fire and tend to the damages it was discovered that four sailors were missing.