Frogmen recovering motorcycle near sunken carHeavy floods in Israel have yesterday again focused the attention on the resources for air rescue. The situation in Israel is strange. Rescue missions of people that fall into creeks in the desert, for example, are performed by the Israeli air-force (IAF) 669 unit.


The Israeli “Red Magen David” first aid organization, operates helicopters for transferring wounded to hospitals. The Police air unit is performing police missions as traffic control, fighting crime and helping to keep the order in public events .But the unit is also active in the daily fight against terror.

So yesterday, the IAF’s 669 unit was called again in and performed two rescue operations smoothly.  But this unit is aimed at rescuing pilots and I think that it is about time that a civil air rescues unit is built with the adequate gear.

The IAF used to help in fighting big fires by using its CH-53’s fitted with “buckets” that were operated to spill water on the flames. This changed after a huge blaze in Northern Israel in 2010 that claimed the lives of 44 people.

A civil fire fighting squadron was formed and has since been involved if fighting many blazes. It is coordinated by the IAF but it is civil .The same should be done with rescue. Such a unit should operate a number of helicopters and manned by experts. The natural reservoir for such experts is at hand – the people of the 669 IAF unit that are by any standard in the highest level of expertise.