12:50PM EST: According to initial reports, at least 7 people – some of them Charedim – have R”L been killed, and more than a dozen injured after a train collided with a mini-bus.
The horrific crash occurred just a short while ago on Route 353 near Kibbutz Gat, when a train collided a minibus .
A massive response of rescue forces were scrambled to the scene of the wreckage, including Ichud Hatzolah, MDA, FD, and medics from the IDF.
Sources on the scene tell YWN that there are at least 15 people injured, some heavily entrapped inside the wreckage.
Numerous IDF Choppers were seen landing nearby to airlift the wounded to various trauma centers.
UPDATE 12:58PM EST: Highly credible sources tell YWN that 3 of the dead are children from a Chareidi family.
UPDATE 2:22PM EST: Among the dead was a family from Beitar. The father, mother, and three children have RL been killed.
UPDATE 4:30PM EST: The preliminary assessment indicated that the bus driver was driving too fast and he couldn’t stop the bus before plowing through the train barrier. The conductor of the train – Giora Weiss, tried stopping the train with the emergency brake, but with less than 1,000 feet to go, he was unable to stop it in time. Upon impact, the first car of the train flipped, and the mini bus was almost completely crushed.
Emergency medical forces transported the injured victims to the Barzali Hospital in Ashkelon, and the Sorka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. According to initial reports from Chadrei Chedarim, no passengers on the train were injured. However, Kikar Hashabat noted that there were some train riders with injuries. There were at least twenty injured, including bystanders. Among the niftar, was a father who was also a ZAKA volunteer.
Kikar Hashabat reports that the CEO of Rakevet Yisrael, Yitzchak Harel, said: “I’m amazed that these drivers cannot obey the law. I’m standing here, at the scene of the collision, and I’m utterly amazed”.
A firefighter who was at the scene minutes after the accident occurred said “From what I can understand, the minibus was hurtled 300 feet on impact and the train didn’t stop for 1,000 feet after hitting the bus.
UPDATE 8:34PM EST: Zaka spokesman Moti Bukjin said that the team that came to identify the bodies were horrified to discover that they knew the victims: Aryeh Bernstein, the head of the family, who died along with his wife, his pregnant daughter and her husband, and his three other children, was himself a Zaka volunteer, and a member of United Hatzalah.
UPDATE 8:40PM EST: The Levayos for all 7 members of the Bernstein & Gutstein will be at Karlin Stolin on Rechov Avi Noam Yelllin in Yersushalayim on Friday morning at 10:30AM.
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(Feivel Katz / Yehuda Drudgestein / LipaS / YWN Israel Desk)