Family of IDF soldier killed during training exercise demands answers

Relatives of 19-year-old armored corps soldier Eitan Fichman say they still have not received a clear explanation of the circumstances surrounding his death.

By World Israel News Staff

The family of an IDF soldier killed in a tank training accident earlier this week say still have not received an explanation of how he was killed.

Nineteen-year-old Armored Corps Sergeant Eitan Fichman, a resident of Beersheba, suffered a fatal head injury inside of a tank during an army exercise Tuesday evening, the IDF announced Wednesday morning.

Fichman had been taking part in the exercise at the IDF’s Nafah training zone in the Golan Heights. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant.

In an interview published by Channel 12 Thursday morning, Fichman’s sister, Shira, said the army still has not given the family answers regarding Fichman’s death.

“We don’t understand what happened, we have no answers for why this happened,” Shira said.

“We know that he was carrying out his role professionally, without error, and we have absolutely no explanation for this.”

Shira said that the only information the army has been able to provide the family with thus far is to note a minutes-long gap in communication with Fichman, after which he was found lying severely injured on the floor of the tank.

“There were 3 to 7 minutes during which they weren’t in contact with him, and then when they called him, he did not answer.”

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“When they found him, he was sprawled out on the floor of the tank. There is an investigation now into the matter, but it isn’t clear to us, there’s no reasonable explanation. He was healthy.”

On Wednesday, the IDF announced that the chief of Israel’s Northern Command, Major General Amir Baram, has tapped Lt. Col. Shaul Israeli, commander of the 205th Brigade, to investigate the accident.

According to the preliminary investigation, when the tank’s commander called Fichman, he received no response. When he went to see why Fichman failed to respond, the commander found Fichman lying between the tank’s hull and turret, an area known as the “triangle of death” that soldiers are required to avoid while the tank is in motion.