IAF pilots speak of experiences after being hit by Syrian missile

In an interview with the Israel News Company on Sunday, the two pilots who ejected from an F-16 jet after it was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile described their experience. “The understanding that we were hit is a very uncomfortable feeling,” they explained. “This loss of control.”

Watch: Israeli pilot parachutes after deserting the F-16 hit by Syrian missile

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The two pilots who ejected from their F-16 jet after it was damaged by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile described their experience on Sunday. Speaking to the Israel News Company, the pilots, one of whom was the navigator in the jet, recounted the feelings they had after their aircraft was hit.

“[We heard] an explosion and the understanding that we were hit is a very uncomfortable feeling, this loss of control,” they said. “The ejection is immediate, there is no long process and no time. Mere seconds. The realization that we must hurry and abandon [the jet] was both due to our physical injuries as well as that the plane had been hit and stopped functioning.”

Despite the explosion, the pilots explained that there was no screaming in the cockpit. They also said that luck was involved as the missile could have easily killed the two. “The missile exploded a certain distance away from the plane and its shards did enough significant damage to it,” the two recounted. “The decision to abandon was made in seconds. We coordinated the ejection together.”

The incident that resulted in the downing of the jet is still being investigated by Israeli security forces. As reported by JOL earlier today, IAF Commander Major General Amikam Norkin praised the pilot of the F-16 jet who was severely wounded on Saturday after ejecting from the aircraft. “From the moment you understood you must abandon the jet you made the right decision,” Norkin told the pilot.  "You not only saved your own life but also that of the navigator, Major A."

Northern Israel skies, early Saturday morning Photo Credit: Facebook screenshot

The pilot, who was in critical condition on Saturday, is now able to breathe on his own and is fully conscious after being operated at the intensive care unit of the hospital. He is now in stable condition. The navigator sustained only minor injuries and was released on Sunday.

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