Four people were killed Tuesday after a civilian helicopter crashed off the Sironit beach in Netanya. Rescue forces were dispatched to the scene.
Magen David Adom services stated that the casualties were apparently tourists - one of whom was 43-year-old man from the UK. The two pilots, Yoav Tamir from Tel Aviv and Ran Lapid from Nes Tziona, were also killed in the crash.
A third person was named out of the four casualties claimed by the crash - Hadar Shavit, 39, from the town of Lapid.
Shavit, a veteran pilot, revealed only upon boarding the helicopter that Ran Lapid, a distant relative of his, would be at the helm. Lapid was also killed in the crash. "I still cannot grasp what has happened. It is a terrible tragedy," said his brother, Gil Shavit, to Ynet.
At around 2:30 pm police and Magen David Adom call centers received reports of a helicopter descending to the sea.
Rescue boats searching for survivors (Photo: Roni Farber)
Navy police boats were rushed to the scene while paramedics and police forces arrived at the coast.
The aircraft is a civilian helicopter of the Tamir private aviation company which took off from the Tel Aviv Sde Dov airfield and apparently carried four individuals. Two bodies were initially recovered while rescue forces continued to search for the other two - whose bodies were eventually found.
Upon news of the crash the Air Force conducted a check which revealed that no aircraft was missing.
Four people were killed in October 2008 when a civilian Cessna plane crashed near Moshav Bazra in the Sharon region. The plane went down in an agricultural field situated between Route 4 and a row of homes in the Bazra community and caught fire.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report