Scene of the helicopter crash
Scene of the helicopter crashIsrael Police

Two pilots from central Israel, both in their 60s, were killed Saturday when a helicopter crashed near Kfar Yehezkel in northern Israel.

Magen David Adom staff arriving at the scene were forced to declare their deaths.

The Robinson R44 helicopter crashed in an open field north of Highway 71, between Sulam and Kfar Yehezkel. Investigators from the Aviation Administration arrived at the scene to collect the broken pieces of helicopter, in order to learn more about how the crash occurred.

The corpses will be sent to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine for identification.

Police superintendent Selba Bonchuk, Commander of the Operations Department in the Afula police force, said at the scene: "At about one o'clock in the afternoon, the Israel Police hotline received a report that an explosion had been heard and there was a fire in the fields near Kfar Yehezkel. Our teams went to the scene, and we saw a helicopter going up in flames. The officers used fire extinguishers from their squad car, and noticed two men lying near the helicopter. Unfortunately, when MDA arrived, they declared their deaths. It was very difficult to see the plane crashed and going up in flames."

Yossi Neimark, a senior MDA paramedic, and MDA paramedic Sapir Bokhobza, said: "On the way to the scene, we joined a squad car which led us deep into an agricultural area. We saw the smoke from afar, and when we came closer to the scene of the crash, we saw the helicopter which had gone up in flames."

According to the teams, "both pilots were unconscious. After medical examinations, we had no choice but to declare their deaths at the scene."

The Israel Electric Company (IEC) said that "the IEC shares the great sorrow about the tragedy. The company has sent a team to the area to examine whether there was damage to the electricity lines, and if there is a connection to the unfortunate incident."