Searching for evidence
Photo: Reuters
Crash victims' relatives receiving bitter news, on Tuesday
Photo: Ido Erez

Black box retrieved from scene of helicopter crash

Military sources say black box recordings will help shed light on last minutes of fatal flight, as IAF prepares to dispatch 669 Rescue Unit team in order to locate, identify bodies of six Israeli crew members

ROMANIA - The Israeli Defense Force on Tuesday evening said that rescue teams in Romania have located the black box from the helicopter that crashed Monday during a training mission over a mountainside north of Bucharest, killing six Israeli Air force personnel and a Romanian officer.


The military estimated that locating the black box will shed new light on the circumstances of the fatal accident.


On Tuesday, the Air Force halted all its training flights in remembrance of the tragedy and in order to support the fallen crewmembers' relatives. The IAF is slated to resume all flights on Wednesday.


Air Force Brigadier-General Nimrod Shefer explained that "halting the exercises is meant to give pilots and crewmembers time to think about what happened, and is not related to security protocols."


A number of IAF helicopters that participated in the military drill in Romania, which was put on hold after the crash, are also slated to return to Israel on Wednesday.


A rescue mission will leave to Romania early Wednesday morning to retrieve the six bodies from the crash site.


Meanwhile, the IDF began collecting initial findings in order to probe the circumstances of the crash. Military sources noted that despite the initial assumption that the crash occurred due to human error under difficult weather conditions, it was too early to draw conclusions.


Victims of helicopter crash (Photo courtesy of IDF Spokesperson's Unit) 


Brigadier-General Yaacov Shaharbani will head the rescue mission, and also take part in the initial investigation and collection of evidence from the scene.


On Tuesday, members of the Israeli delegation arrived at a Romanian Air Force base, located some 250 kilometers from the scene of the crash.


Scene of Tuesday's crash. (Photo: Reuters)


Air Force's Rescue Unit 669 and members of the military rabbinate on Tuesday were busy preparing their gear ahead of an early Wednesday morning departure. Their main mission will be to retrieve the bodies of the six crewmembers and transfer them to another area where they can be identified.


The team will be transported to the scene of the crash either by Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion choppers left behind from the training mission, or alternatively by vehicles. While the first options seemed more likely, a decision in the matter is expected to be made by the higher military ranks by Wednesday morning.


The rescue team will include 30 combatant soldiers and commanders from Rescue Unit 669, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel A.


The IDF estimated the mission may take long hours, and therefore the bodies may only be flown back to Israel on Thursday.



פרסום ראשון: 07.28.10, 00:09
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