The victims of the light plane crash in the south on Tuesday were identified as a major in the Israel Air Force reserves and a 19-year-old flight school cadet, as the Israel Defense Forces said an investigation into the accident during a routine air force training flight was ongoing.
The trainer was named as Maj. (res.) Itay Zayden, a 42-year-old from Kibbutz Shoval. The cadet was named as Corporal Lihu Ben-Bassa, 19, from Rishon Lezion.
Zayden was a reserve officer who previously served in an F-16 squadron and Ben-Bassa was in his fourth month of a pilot-training course, according to the army.
Zayden is survived by his wife and four children, while Ben-Bassa is survived by his parents and twin brother, who is also in the army, according to the Ynet news site.
“I express deep sorrow over the loss Air Force reserve officer Major Itay Zayden and flight school cadet pilot Corporal Lihu Ben-Bassa, who perished in the plane crash today,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement on Tuesday night.
“On behalf of all citizens of Israel, I send condolences to their families in their hour of grief.”