The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday confirmed that a helmet found by a hiker in southern Israel last week belonged to a pilot killed during a training flight in the area 35 years ago.
The helmet was discovered on Saturday in the vicinity of the Paran riverbed in the Negev Desert. The hiker who found it posted a photo to his Facebook page, showing that on the helmet was written “Guri,” the Hebrew letter “Tet” and the number 140, leading many to assume that it belonged to Maj. Daniel Guri, of Air Force Squadron 140, who was killed in a crash in that area in 1984.
The IDF contacted the hiker, who had left the helmet where he found it, and launched an investigation,later confirming that the helmet indeed belonged to Guri.
Guri, 32, accompanied a cadet on a test flight over southern Israel in May 1984. The plane experienced a technical fault, and the two were killed during an attempt to eject from the aircraft.
“After a check of the information, a team was formed to find the helmet and return it to the family of the pilot, who were updated on the details,” the military said.
Using the hiker’s directions, the air force found the helmet approximately 10 kilometers (six miles) from the community of Paran.
The military said the helmet would be returned to Guri’s family shortly.
Guri was survived by his wife, who was eight months pregnant at the time of his death, according to Channel 13 news.
“The IDF is dedicated to returning to families every token of remembrance of their loved one who lost their lives and fell during their military service,” the IDF said.
The late Maj. Guri enlisted in the IAF in 1969 and graduated from the IAF Flight Academy as a fighter pilot. During his service, he was assigned to Squadron 119, which operated F-4 Phantom aircraft at the time. Maj. Guri participated in numerous wars and operations during his time in the force. During his reserve duty, he served as a Flight Instructor in the Flight Academy, located in “Hazerim” AFB. He also commanded the OTC (Operational Training Course) in squadron 140.
On May 27th, 1984, during a flight training session with Lt. Ilan Rosental, one of his cadets, a malfunction occurred in the aircraft they were on. Daniel and his student failed to escape the plane because the ejection seats did not work properly. As a result, the plane crashed with both of them in it.