Judge Blames Pilot for Helicopter Crash in Which 54 Israelis Died

A military judge has blamed the pilot for the crash of a helicopter in which 54 Israeli soldiers were killed May 10. The judge said that Copt. Moshe Winter, who also died in the crash, was flying lower than permissible during hours of darkness. The helicopter crashed near Jericho during a military exercise causing the largest single military death toll in Israel’s history.

The judge also recommended that the army consider bringing charges against the commanding officer of the helicopter unit, a major, because he had allowed the entire unit to fly at altitudes lower than regulation if they felt it was safe. The major had himself flown at the same altitude as Copt. Winter. The parents of the victims also are urging that the commander be prosecuted, saying that they are not satisfied that a dead man was being blamed.

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