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February 19, 1993 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Air Accident
Was A Fluke

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(

Tel Aviv (JTA) — An Israeli
air force training accident
that resulted in the deaths of
two soldiers last August was
not the cause of negligence,
breach of regulations or
technical malfunction, ac-
cording to an intensive army
/ investigation.
The accident, which
received much media atten-
tion at the time, was essen-
tially described as a fluke, a
"unique event, with no
precedent in Israel or
abroad."
The men who were killed,
who were part of a special
air rescue unit and engaged
in simulated operation, were
being hoisted up by cable
from the ground into a
helicopter when the cable
snapped.
The airman controlling the
cable winch from inside the
helicopter was inexperienc-
ed, and the two would-be
rescuers were practicing the
operation for the first time,
the report revealed.
In an unusual sequence of
events, the mechanic had
reeled in the cable to the
point where the two
suspended airmen were next
to the open door of the
helicopter.
The airman put his hand
out to guide the two men
into the aircraft. But at the
same moment, he accidently
released about a yard of the
cable to which they were
attached.
He then reportedly hoisted
them up to the door again, as
the Sikorsky helicopter
hovered some 15 yards above
the surface of the rocky and
uneven Negev below.
The extra cable length was
not rewound onto the drum,
;- and the airmen had not been
instructed to snap safety
belts onto the floor of the
helicopter. When the slack
rope was taken up, the
sudden slip of a meter or so
snapped the cable, and the
men fell to their deaths.
According to the army
spokesman, the investiga-
tion team conducted labora-
tory tests and simulations in
the field, both in Israel and
in the United States, where
they received the full coop-
/
eration of the Sikorsky
corporation and the U.S. Air
Force.
The Negev accident proved
to be a unique event, with no
similar accidents on record
_ elsewhere.
/J The mothers of the two
dead airmen told Israel tele-
vision that they did not
blame the hoist mechanic.

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55

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