Israel closer to recovering body of downed pilot… after 52-year search

An Israeli Air Force training flight crashed in the Sea of Galilee in 1962, killing both instructor 1st Lt. Yakir Naveh and his student, cadet Oded Koton.  Koton’s body was recovered within a year, but they’re still searching for Lt. Naveh’s remains.  

And they are still searching!  Israel Hayom reports on progress in the 52-year mission:

Every year, the Israeli Air Force and the Israeli Navy launch new searches of the Sea of Galilee in an attempt to find Naveh’s body and bring the tragedy to a close. A few years ago, Navy teams working with fish farmers from Kibbutz Ein Gev found parts of the plane on the floor of the lake at a depth of 35 meters (115 feet.) Five years ago, Naveh’s gun and watch were discovered and identified by his family.

On Monday a few parts of the cockpit were recovered, but the pilot’s body is still missing. According to some assessments, Naveh’s remains are covered on the floor of the lake, and divers are excavating the area around where the latest plane fragments were discovered.

Naveh’s 79-year-old brother accompanies the teams on all their excursions. One team member said “Every year we get closer to the goal of finding [his] body.”

What an inspiring example of dedication from the Israeli armed forces, and what a sobering reminder of how closely the sea can hold her secrets, even in relatively shallow water.  Even with the more advanced airplane equipment of the modern era, the search for those who disappeared aboard Malaysian Flight 370 is formidable indeed.


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