An interim report on the investigation into the crash of an IAF Apache attack helicopter two weeks ago in which the pilot was killed has identified a steering malfunction as the fault of the accident, and recommended that the Apaches remain grounded until the probe has been completed.
The interim report determined that there was no connection between the crash and a crack in a rear rotor blade that was discovered on an Apache helicopter in June and forced the Air Force to ground the entire fleet for three weeks, the IAF said.
After reviewing the findings, IAF chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin decided to keep the helicopters out of service until the investigation “is completed and all the actions required to return them to full fitness are carried out.”
The familes of Maj. (res.) David “Dudu” Zohar, who was killed, and the co-pilot, Lt. On, who was seriously injured, were informed of the interim findings.
Last Thursday, Lt. On was moved to a recovery ward in Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Center after doctors determined that his condition had sufficiently improved, a hospital official said. He had been evacuated to the hospital in critical condition immediately after the crash.
In a statement, a hospital spokesperson said the family wanted to thank the Soroka medical teams for their “humane and professional work, which went above and beyond the norm.”