A team from the ZAKA organization working in Haiti has found a body believed to be that of Jewish businessman Shmuel Alexander Biton. Biton, of Montreal, has been missing since Haiti was hit by an earthquake in January.
The team found identifying documents on the body belonging to 36-year-old Biton.
ZAKA teams remained in Haiti after initial rescue efforts concluded in order to locate bodies in the rubble of the five-story Montana Hotel, which collapsed in the quake. The teams worked with United States teams to look for Biton's body as well as the bodies of 17 United States citizens believed to have been in the hotel at the time it collapsed.
"ZAKA saw great importance in carrying out this holy task... of making every effort to give a Jew a proper Jewish burial,” the organization said Thursday night.
In the first days after the quake, a ZAKA team attempted to enter the ruins of the hotel in order to rescue Biton, going so far as to attempt to tunnel into the ruins of the lobby. However, the rescue effort was called off due to fears that tunneling further would cause a further collapse and endanger rescuers' lives.