The son of the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon was killed in the crash of an Israeli Air Force fighter plane.
Capt. Assaf Ramon, 21, died Sunday while flying the F-16 aircraft as part of advanced training. He had completed the training course for pilots with honors in June, receiving his wings from President Shimon Peres. He had escaped death in a training flight in March.
His father, Israel’s first astronaut, was killed aboard the U.S. space shuttle Columbia in 2003 when it broke apart upon its return to earth.
The Air Force ordered all F-16 training halted until further notice. The plane crashed in the Hebron Hills.
Ilan Ramon himself was a fighter pilot in the Air Force and participated in the 1981 strike on an Iraqi nuclear reactor.
Assaf Ramon, the oldest of four children, was 15 when his father died. He had said he would like to become a pilot like his father and perhaps even an astronaut.
Jewish-American astronaut Garrett Reisman, a close friend of the Ramon family, departed Sunday night from the U.S. to attend the funeral. Since the explosion of the Columbia space shuttle in which Assaf’s father Ilan was killed, Reisman has maintained ties with the widow and her children. According to some accounts, Reisman taught Assaf to fly when he was 17.