IAF Report Says Corroded Motor Part to Blame for January Helicopter Crash

By Hamodia Staff

Parts of a crashed Israeli military helicopter lay on the ground after it crashed off the coast of Haifa, January 3, 2022. (Alon Nadav/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – An Israeli Air Force investigative team has released its final determination of the cause of a deadly helicopter crash in January.

The investigators found that the crash was due to a malfunction that was the result of corrosion in the craft’s motor. Maintenance had failed to identify the vulnerable part, as it is located deep within the motor and is not included in the routine checks recommended by the manufacturer, France-based Airbus Helicopters.

The malfunctioning part sparked a fire which caused the helicopter to go out of control and plunge into the water off the coast of the northern city of Haifa.

Two pilots, Lt. Col. Erez Sachyani and Maj. Chen Fogel, were killed on January 3, when the AS565 Panther helicopter — known in the IAF as an “Atalef,” or bat—hit the water.

A third officer on board, Cpt. Ron Birman, managed to escape the wreck and was rescued with relatively minor injuries.

The report confirms interim findings. “An in-depth, professional, and thorough investigation was conducted here,” IDF chief Aviv Kohavi says. “We lost two of our best pilots in this accident. Our task now is to study the conclusions and lessons learned, and prevent the next accident.”

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