January 13, 2020 (by Asif Shamim) - Eight F-16 jets were damaged last week as heavy rain flooded their under ground 'datak' hangars at Hatzor AB, the military acknowledged Sunday, following attempts to have the information censored initially.
Officials acknowledged that mistake had been made by not removing the jets when the flooding had started on Thursday. 50 million liters of rain fell on the base between 05:00hrs. and 05:30hrs.
According to the Air Force, five F-16s sustained light damage while another three were more seriously affected. Estimates have the costs running in the tens of millions of shekels to complete repairs.
Initial reports were suppressed by the military, but photos have been seen on social media showing the flooding. Initial attempts to suppress were claimed as a security matter drew criticism as it was deemed a coverup and an embarrassment for not preventing the incident.
The flooding occurred as heavy rains lashed Israel
on Thursday, causing widespread flooding in several cities. Authorities have faced criticism over inadequate drainage infrastructure do deal with the rains at Hatzor AB which is close to two rivers.
Channel 12 news also reported that several mechanics needed to be rescued from the flooded hangars when waters reached more than one and a half meters (4.5 feet) in depth.