1997 Israeli helicopter disaster

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1997 Israeli helicopter disaster
IAF CH-53.jpg
An IDF/AF CH-53 Ysur 2000 similar to the aircraft that collided
Accident summary
Date February 4, 1997 (1997-02-04)
Summary Mid-air collision
Site She'ar Yashuv in northern Israel
Coordinates: 33°13′20″N 35°38′28″E / 33.22222°N 35.64111°E / 33.22222; 35.64111
Total fatalities 73
Total survivors 0
First aircraft
Type Sikorsky S-65C-3 Yas'ur 2000
Operator Israeli Air Force
Registration 357
Fatalities 37
Survivors 0
Second aircraft
Type Sikorsky S-65C-3 Yas'ur 2000
Operator Israeli Air Force
Registration 903
Fatalities 36
Survivors 0
Monument for the 73 soldiers killed in the collision.

The 1997 Israeli helicopter disaster occurred on 4 February 1997. 73 Israel Defense Forces soldiers were killed when two Sikorsky S-65C-3 Yas'ur 2000 helicopters, 357 and 903, collided over She'ar Yashuv in northern Israel. The helicopters were supposed to have crossed the border into Israel's "security zone" in Lebanon, but were hovering while waiting for official clearance to go. Previously Israel had moved troops by ground, but this policy was changed as the threat of roadside bombs from Hezbollah increased.[1]

Bodies were brought to the Reading Funeral Home in North Tel Aviv, where identifications were made.

The crash brought about widespread national grieving. 6 February, was declared an official day of mourning, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Ezer Weizman attended funerals and visited the grieving families. In addition, thousands of Israelis went to pray at the Western Wall and assemblies were held at schools nationwide.

A commission headed by David Ivry was set up to investigate the cause of the collision, the deadliest air disaster in Israeli history. The committee finished its investigation in mid-April of the same year. It had been unable to find the definite cause of the mid-air collision, noting that the pilots appeared in good health and that no external causes could be found.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eisenberg, Laura Zittrain (September 1997). "Israel's Lebanon Policy". Middle East Review of International Affairs 1 (3). Retrieved 2011-02-23. 

External links[edit]