[QODLink]
Middle East
Astronaut son dies in W Bank crash
Son of Israeli astronaut who died in space shuttle disaster is killed in air crash.
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2009 16:36 GMT
The F-16, for which a search has been mounted, crashed on a routine flight over Hebron [AFP]

The pilot son of Ilan Ramon, the Israeli astronaut who died in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster, has been  killed after his fighter plane crashed in the West Bank, the Israeli military has said.

The F-16 was on a routine training flight over the occupied territory when it crashed on Sunday killing Asaf Ramon, officials said.

A Palestinian eyewitness told Channel 2 TV that the plane flew over the southern West Bank at low altitude before crashing.

"There was a huge fire," the unidentified witness said.

Major general Ido Nehushtan, the Israeli air force commander, called an official inquiry and halted training in Israel's F-16 squadrons "until further notice" the military said in a statement.

Shuttle explosion

Asaf's father Ilan was one of seven crew members killed in the Columbia shuttle when it exploded shorlty before landing.

A former fighter pilot who took part in Israel's bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, he was the payload specialist on the shuttle flight.

The space shuttle Columbia broke apart about 20 km over Texas as it headed for landing on February 1, 2003.

Seven astronauts - six Americans and Ramon - died after spacecraft's heat shield suffered damage caused during its launch two weeks earlier.

His son, the oldest of his four children, graduated from a flight school in June.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list