The maritime “Atalef” helicopter crashed into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Haifa city during a training flight with an aerial observer and two pilots on board, a military spokesperson said in a statement.
The aerial observer was moderately injured and sent to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. He was “in a stable condition” and treated for hypothermia, Micky Halbertal, director of the Rambam Hospital, told reporters.
The two pilots were found after a rescue search and were declared dead “after extensive resuscitation efforts,” the statement added.
Israeli Air Force Commander Amikam Norkin has ordered the suspension of training flights as well as the use of the “Atalef” helicopters.
Israel’s state-owned Kan TV news reported that the cause of the crash appeared to be a technical failure that set the chopper ablaze.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter that the air force will investigate the incident to “draw the necessary lessons.”