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IDF identifies, collects body parts of copter victims

(JTA) — An elite Israel Defense Forces unit identified and collected body parts of the seven military personnel killed in the crash of an Israeli military helicopter in central Romania.

The search-and-rescue unit on Wednesday also collected pieces of the crashed helicopter, which will aid the investigation into the cause of Monday’s accident.

Six Israeli soldiers and a Romanian liaison officer died in the accident. A Romanian official said Tuesday that all seven bodies had been located.

The IDF and the Romanian army plan to hold a memorial ceremony Thursday afternoon at the nearby military base from where the doomed helicopter took off.

Wednesday’s landing was the first at the crash site, high in the Carpathian Mountains, which until now had been inaccessible to search teams.

Israeli Air Force investigators suspect that human error stemming from poor visibility caused the fatal crash of the CH-53 helicopter during a joint military exercise between the Israeli and Romanian militaries. All possibilities are being investigated, the Air Force said, including the chance that the helicopter experienced a technical problem that led to the crash.

The helicopter’s black box was discovered at the site at approximately midnight Tuesday and was transferred for inspection in Israel.

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