TEL AVIV (Jan. 2)
An Israeli air force helicopter being used to shift heavy stone border markers crashed last week, killing its pilot. Three soldiers aboard were injured.
The pilot, Lt. Mordechai Sharon, 25, was buried in Haifa on Friday.
The mishap occurred along the Israeli-Egyptian border.
The big Sikorsky helicopter was employed to move border markers in accordance with surveys being conducted by Israeli-Egyptian teams, accompanied by observers from the United Nations Multinational Force.
The aircraft had trouble dislodging a large stone obelisk to which a cable was attached.
On the second attempt, the cable snapped. The recoil threw the helicopter off balance. It tumbled in the air and crashed.
Observers said the pilot saved the lives of the three other men aboard by switching off the ignition before the helicopter struck the ground.
The three soldiers were flown by U.N. helicopters to a hospital in Beersheba.
The air force has set up an commission to investigate the accident.