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Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Four die in Israeli resort helicopter crash

Rescue workers carry a body bag off the beach
An investigation has been launched into the crash in the Mediterranean Sea

Four men have been killed in a civilian helicopter crash off the coast of Israel.

The aircraft, which was believed to have been carrying tourists, crashed off Sironit Beach, close to the city of Netanya.

Police say four bodies, including those of the two pilots, have been recovered. A British passport was also found.

Israeli police say it is not clear yet whether it was human or technical error which caused the helicopter to crash.

The victims' names have not been released. Their bodies are currently with Israeli medical examiners.

BBC Middle East correspondent Katya Adler says the British embassy in Tel Aviv is currently investigating whether the man was a British national, and if so, whether he lived in Israel or abroad. Reports say he was in his 40s.

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Witness Hertzel Sharoni said he and a friend sitting on the beach heard a strange noise coming out of the helicopter's propeller shortly before the crash.

They then saw the helicopter continue on for a few hundred metres before the rotor came off and the craft fall into the Mediterranean Sea.

Netanya Police Commander Amimchai Esed said the crash was most likely "a tragic accident".

Divers have brought wreckage from the helicopter back on to land and Israel's Civil Aviation Authority has taken over the investigation.

The seaside city of Netanya is 30km (18miles) north of Tel Aviv.



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