During the incident, four combat soldiers were wounded, but the brave actions of company commander Second Lieutenant Eylon Tsarfati – who was also wounded – prevented the incident from ending much worse.
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Tsarfati's "quick response despite the burns he sustained is what you would expect from an IDF commander," a senior commander said.
Soldier evacuated from incident (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
The investigation revealed that after being evacuated from the tank together with two of the wounded soldiers, Tsarfati noticed that the tank's driver was still inside the burning vehicle.
Despite his injuries, which included 30% burn wounds on his legs, the young officer returned to the tank and extracted the driver.
Four IDF soldiers were seriously injured during a training exercise in the Golan Heights on Tuesday when loose gun powder they stored in barrel came in contact with the burning muzzle of a MAG, thus igniting the gun powder, and setting the hull on fire.
All of the wounded soldiers are still hospitalized, two in serious condition. Second Lieutenant Tsarfati sustained moderate burn injuries.
IDF sources said that without Second Lieutenant Tsarfati's action the incident would have resulted in a heavier cost in human life, because of the heavy smoke inside the Merkava Mark IV tank.
A commander further said of Tsarfati that "he had only his soldiers on his mind, even during the morning he asked about them again and again. He had no fear in returning to the tank. He risked his life to save his soldiers."
Tsarfati, who was born in Jerusalem, enlisted into the Armored Corps two years ago.
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