A young soldier being groomed for service in Israel's elite naval commando unit was killed last night in a training accident. Gal Azulai (19) from Zichron Yaakov was posthumously promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. His funeral will take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at the Zichron Yaakov military cemetery.
The accident occurred at a naval base near the port city of Ashdod.
Azulai was at a depth of 3 meters an hour and a half into training exercises when his partner noticed he was in distress. The pair surfaced, and Azulai's partner fired a flare, notifying a medical team that evacuated Azulai to the dock. He was then rushed by ambulance to Assaf Harofeh Hospital. After receiving CPR for 40 minutes, Azulai was pronounced dead by a doctor in the ambulance en route to the hospital.
An investigation of the mishap will be conducted. Azulai's diving equipment will also be examined by experts.
All Navy diving exercises have been suspended pending the investigation.
Azulai was a trainee in the elite naval commando known in Hebrew as 'Shayetet 13' (literally 'Flotilla 13'), which is the Israeli equivalent of the US Navy SEALs. He was reportedly diving in normal temperatures and conditions, was said to have been in good shape, and four months away from receiving his commando certification.
Shayetet 13's most recent high-profile operation was the seizure of Iranian arms on a ship smuggling them illegally to Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon.