The Israel Air Force (IAF) has launched an investigation into the emergency landing of a Yasur transport helicopter and grounded the entire fleet.
A technical problem led to the helicopter’s engine catching fire. IAF Commander Amikam Norkin has ordered to ground all Yasur helicopters until the source of the problem is identified.
No injuries were reported for those on the helicopter, which landed near Kibbutz Beit Kama in the northern Negev.
The technical malfunction took place when the helicopter was at an altitude of 170m and it landed within a minute.
Of the fourteen soldiers who were on board the aircraft when the incident took place, 11 were members of the elite Shaldag commando unit, along with two pilots and a mechanic.
The helicopter, which was destroyed in the fire, had been en route for a training exercise at a base in southern Israel.
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The Yasur has been used by the Israeli military for 50 years. It is an American-made Sikorsky aircraft.
Advanced technology has been incorporated into some of the aircraft, which are no longer similar to the original Yasurs that were exported to Israel in 1969.
The Israel Air Force has already made the decision to stop using them from 2025. A decision on the helicopters selected to replace the Yasur is anticipated to be taken in the coming months.