Three named in Israel helicopter crash

By Jessica Elgot, November 25, 2009
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Three of the four people who died after a helicopter crashed off the coast of Netanya, Israel have been named.

A 43 year-old British man is believed to have died in the crash. His name has not been released by police.

One of the Israeli victims has been named as 35 year-old Yoav Tamir from Tel Aviv, the co-owner of Tamir Airways which owned the helicopter.

Ran Lapid, 49, from Nes Tziona, a pilot for El Al, was flying the helicopter when it crashed. Mr Lapid had regularly flown Boeing 737 planes for El Al, and had served as a helicopter pilot in the army.

The other passenger, Hadar Shavit, 39, from the town of Lapid, was also a pilot, for Arkia.

The Israelis are said to have been showing a British businessman around the Israeli coast when the helicopter malfunctioned. He is believed to have been based in Cyprus where he worked in the airline industry.

The private helicopter took off from Tel Aviv's Sde Dov airfield and crashed into the sea, 300m from Sironit beach, Netanya.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said flying conditions had been "relatively decent" at the time of the crash and that they were investigating the possibility of a machinery malfunction.

Mr Rosenfeld said of the British victim: "It said he was British on his passport, but we are still looking to see if he lived in Britain or was living overseas."

Last updated: 11:04am, November 25 2009