Two Israel Air Force officers were missing and presumed lost after their F-16 warplane collided with another F-16 just off the coast of Nahariya early Tuesday morning.
Lt. Col. Rami Shlomi, 36, a squadron leader from Mishmar Ha’emek, and Lt. Yuval Binyamin, 24, failed to eject from their plane after the collision.
The crew of the second jet fighter bailed out safely into the sea and were picked up by a navy rescue craft.
The commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Herzl Bodinger, set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the incident.
He told reporters that the cause of the accident clearly seemed to be human error by one of the pilots.
The two planes were not engaged in any difficult maneuvers when the collision occurred, Bodinger said.
The accident came just hours after eight soldiers were hurt in an explosion during a training exercise in the Negev near Yeroham.
The Israel Defense Force chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Amnon Shahak, ordered a cessation of ground training exercises throughout the army until safety regulations were revised.