Nurkin at the family home
Nurkin at the family homeIDF Spokesman

IAF commander Major General Amikam Nurkin, visited the homes of air force cadet, Corporal Lihu Ben-Bassa, 19, of Rishon Lezion and Major (Res.) Major (Res.) Itay Zayden, 42, of Kibbutz Shoval, to pay condolences to the families of the two pilots killed in a 'Tzukit' Grob G 120 plane crash Tuesday morning.

Zayden who was the instructor for the flight, had served as the commander of an F-16 squadron until recently, while the cadet, Corporal Lihu Ben-Bassa was in the midst of a pilots training course which included 15 hours of in-flight training.

General Nurkin told the bereaved families: "You will be the first to know what went wrong. We will not give up until we know what and why it happened. I offer you my condolence and support. The entire corps sends you their blessings and support."

Lihu's father, Shlomo Ben-Bassa, paid tribute to his son. "My dear son with your shy, charming smile, I write these illogical words out of pain for your loss. I smelled your pillow today. In front of me were miniature planes that you asked me to get you on a trip abroad."

Yael, the soldier's grandmother, said: "This is a very sad day. Lihu is gone and there is nothing to comfort us. I saw his picture on TV, and for a moment couldn't believe it was my grandson. Why do terrible things happen to such young people?"

Dotan, Lihu's uncle, added, "We did not come to say goodbye, but to unite. So that you may know and they will know that we are always with you. We will stand by your side forever."

IDF spokesman Tal Hedi Zilberman said contact with the plane was lost and that the pilot did not have time to report the plane's condition prior to the crash.

The aircraft which crashed was a IAF commander Amikam Norkin ordered the establishment of a team to investigate the incident. The team will be led by an officer with the rank of colonel or above.

In 2008, two people were killed when an IAF 'Tzukit' plane crashed in the Negev. The IDF blamed the crash on pilot error.