Authorities say an Israeli hiker who was rescued from a minefield fell to his death from an army helicopter that was evacuating him.

The 24-year-old man from an Arab village in northern Israel was hiking with some friends Wednesday when he inadvertently stumbled into a minefield left over from one of Israel's wars and stepped on a mine.

The military sent a helicopter to airlift the seriously injured man to a hospital. But as rescuers were hoisting him into the aircraft at the end of a rope, he fell 60 feet (20 meters) back into the minefield and died on impact.

Video footage of the incident was shown on Israeli TV.

A military spokesman said the air force chief opened an investigation into the incident Thursday.