Divers seen inside a Tel Aviv building where a man and woman died Saturday due to the flooding of a basement level (Channel 13 screenshot)
A man and a woman were killed in the basement level of a residential building in the south of Tel Aviv on Saturday, after becoming trapped in a flooded elevator during heavy storms. The two apparently drowned.
The 35-year-old man was rushed to hospital in critical condition after being extracted from the elevator by firefighters. Paramedics from the Magen David Adom ambulance service attempted to resuscitate him as he was taken to Sheba Medical Center in nearby Tel Hashomer. However, he later died.
The 30-year-old woman was brought out some time after the man in critical condition and medics made efforts to save her but were unsuccessful.
Officials said the elevator became stuck, possibly due to a power outage, and flooded with water.
Residents told Hebrew media they heard banging from the elevator and called police but that rescue services took between 30-60 minutes to arrive.
Alfred Jadid, the owner of the building, also accused the police and fire services of taking too long to respond.
“When I arrived the water had already reached the top,” he was quoted saying by the Ynet news site. “We tried to open the doors but were unable to.”
“They weren’t prepared for this,” he said of the rescue workers.
He also said residents of the building called police “maybe 100 times,” something denied by a police source, who told the news site only one call to the emergency hotline was recorded.
A diver from the fire services said the rescue mission was a particularly complicated one.
“The water was murky and dirty. We didn’t see anything,” he told Channel 12 news.
In a statement Saturday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was “appalled by the tragic death of two Tel Aviv residents killed in the elevator disaster.
“I have spoken with the public security minister, the transportation minister the acting police chief and head of fire and rescue services to look into how this happened and how such disasters can be prevented in the future.”
In northern Israel, a man in his 70s died in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Bialik after he was electrocuted by a heater in his home.
Parts of central Israel saw record rainfall, with massive downpours flooding streets and swelling rivers. According to Ynet, 71 millimeters (almost 3 inches) of rain fell in Tel Aviv over the course of a two-hour period.
The heavy rain fall caused extensive flooding.
Videos posted to social media saw streets in Tel Aviv and Jaffa flooded, with water reaching near the roofs of cars.
A 55-year-old woman was discovered in a pool of water on the city’s Hakhme Yisrael Boulevard. She was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia but in stable condition.
Courtesy of timesofisrael.com