Hikers find 35-year-old helmet of IDF pilot lost in training accident

The pilot’s name and squadron number were written on the helmet.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hikers in the Negev found an old pilot’s helmet on Saturday with a name inside strongly suggesting it may have belonged to a Maj. Daniel Guri, who died in a training accident over the Negev in 1984.

The group of four friends were trekking in the Paran River area, about 100 kilometers north of Eilat, and at one point they decided to take two different routes. One pair noticed the helmet and dug it out to take a look.

“We saw a helmet buried in the ground and removed it,” one hiker told Ynet. “We realized it was an Air Force helmet, but it was so old and we didn’t think it was worth anything.”

Still, they carried it with them until they met up with the other pair of trekkers. When they examined the headpiece together, one noticed it had the name “Guri” and the number 140b inscribed inside in pen.

“We realized it belonged to someone who was probably killed in a training accident in the field,” he said. “When we understood this, we all got the chills. We were very excited and read about him [online], but left the helmet out there.”

The story they found was about a Maj. Daniel Guri, who belonged to the 140th (Golden Eagle) Squadron of the air force. He was killed on May 27, 1984 along with a trainee, Lieut. Ilan Rosenthal, during a training flight, when a fuel leak caused a fire on board their Skyhawk aircraft.

Guri radioed that the pair would abandon the jet, but as a result of a malfunction they could not eject and they died immediately when the plane crashed.

Guri had enlisted in the Air Force in 1969 and participated in the Yom Kippur War, flying Phantom bombers. He was injured after the war in his plane, and was eventually released from the military.

At the start of 1982, he rejoined the Air Force, and participated in 1982’s Operation Peace for the Galilee. He rose to the rank of major and eventually commanded the combat pilots’ training course. He died on his fourth wedding anniversary.

The military sent a team to locate the helmet and bring it back for tests to determine if it really did belong to the Maj. Guri.

“The air force is in contact with the family, has updated them and will continue to do so,” the Air Force said in a statement. “We thank the civilian for his alertness.”