An IAF flight cadet was laid to rest Wednesday by his family and friends a day after his test flight crashed in southern Israel taking the life of one other person.
Cpl. Lihu Ben-Bassa, 19, was on a routine training flight with Maj. (res.) Itay Zayden, 42, when for reasons that are still being investigated, their Grob G 120 plane crashed and went up in flames near Kibbutz Mishmar Hanegev in southern Israel.
Both victims were proclaimed dead at the scene by emergency workers and paramedics.
The location of the tragic incident in a mere eight-minute drive away from Kibbutz Shoval, where the flight cadet was born and laid to rest.
The flight cadet's friends and family escorted Ben-Bassa one last time amid heavy rainfall and with an IAF honor guard, with one of the attendees exclaiming that "the skies are crying for you."
Lihu's father Shlomo, eulogized his son while fighting away the tears.
"My dear son, I wrote you these impossible words on your bed, in your small room. In front of ssembly planes you loved to build so much. My son with the shy and adorable smile, you were born prematurely and second to your brother, giving him seniority like a gentleman.
"Fate was always by your side: when you were five months old, you choked on your food but grandma tapped you on the back and saved you. When you were five, you broke your leg and acted as if it was nothing. This time - fate beat you to the punch. What did you think about in those last seconds? Forgive me, son. I did my best as a father. You appear in each one of my tears. I will be with you forever."
His mother, Shibolet, who also spoke several hours before the funeral, said she had reservations about her son's ambitions to serve as an IAF pilot.
"My Lihu - such a wonderful child. You went to the army with such hope and happiness. I stopped myself from talking about your fears. I did not want to hold you back from your ambitions and duties. God, why? Why you? I do not understand.
"A gentle and quiet child, but you had so many talents and wisdom in every field. During the last three years, you took responsibility for yourself and us. With your father, twin brother and me. We could always count on you and talk to you."
The mother said her son was a gift from above. "What will we do without you, my darling?"
IAF chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin and IAF flight school commander Col. Yuval Harel also attended the funeral and gave a eulogy.
"We are still trying to understand what happened," said Harel. "We have more questions than answers, but I promise to you [Lihu], we will find out."