[PHOTOS UPDATE & BELOW] A 3-year-old chareidi girl is dead and a well-intended rescuer is in serious condition as a result of an open manhole in a park in Jerusalem’s Ramat Eshkol neighborhood.
The toddler, accompanied by a babysitter, was playing in the park on Nachal Tzion Street, unaware of open pit, which appears to have been about 5 meters (yards) deep, containing toxic gas fumes. The girl fell in at about 4:40pm and a chareidi male nearby heard the screams for assistance, entering the manhole without hesitation in his effort to save the young life. Rescuers pulled the two out.
According to preliminary reports from a number of eyewitnesses, an MDA physician called the code, ending resuscitation efforts on the girl after about 15 minutes. The rescuer’s spontaneous pulse returned after a few minutes of CPR. He arrived in the trauma unit of Hadassah Hospital in critical condition but appears to be showing slight signs of improvement.
Neighbors report numerous complaints were filed with Jerusalem officials regarding the looming danger, the open manhole, which went ignored. An initial response obtained from Jerusalem officials indicates they did not receive any complaints, explaining why the matter was left unattended.
It appears the family of the dead girl move to their new apartment about two weeks ago, living in the area but in a different home earlier. The levaya of 3-year-old Rachel Sofer A”H is scheduled for 9:30pm.
UPDATE: According to chareidi Jerusalem City Councilman Yossi Deutch, who is responsible for the city beautification portfolio, a check of city records back to 2007 reveals there are no complaints on file for an open manhole at the location of Wednesday afternoon’s tragic incident which claimed the life of three-year-old Rachel Sefer. Deutch added they also checked areas, streets near the site of today’s incident, Igloo Park. He stressed there simply is no such file.
Deutch reports one woman insists she called the city ‘moked’ 106 operator, prompting him to ask her for details to permit him to check. She refused. Councilman Deutch made an appeal on Kol Chai Radio that anyone who telephoned and filed an incident complaint with the city is urged to step forward with details.
He added that when he arrived at the scene of the fatal accident, he saw the lid of the manhole was a few feet away, signaling that it was likely not open for too long. He also questions why a responsible person did not simply move it to cover the manhole. He believes there should be some type of lock to prevent movement, but he does not believe children did it since a manhole cover is too heavy.
Deutch rejects the city’s response of “vandalism” stating it simply does not make sense. Vandals do not open manholes he explained, demanding a comprehensive inspection by City Hall.
“It is easy to point a finger and claim ‘I warned and I phoned’ but we must act responsibility and conduct a proper investigation” concluded Deutsch.
Rachel Sofer A”H is being buried at this time in Yerushalayim. The levaya began at 9:30pm in the Shamgar Funeral Home.
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(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)