An Israeli woman died and 12 others were injured in a tragic collision late Sunday morning that cut short a 10-day vacation in the Republic of Georgia.
Bahira Noama, 58, was a resident of Kiryat Ata, Israeli officials said. Her husband was one of the injured. In addition to her husband, she leaves behind three children and a grandchild.
According to media reports, Noama and 13 other Israeli tourists were traveling in a minibus to Kutaisi, the second-largest city in Georgia. The vehicle crashed head-on with a truck traveling on the road. The circumstances behind the crash are unclear.
The tour guide accompanying the Israelis told reporters the group was lucky the accident occurred on a main highway – as a result, it only took rescuers about half an hour to reach them, the guide said.
The Foreign Ministry said Sunday afternoon the Israeli Embassy in Tbilisi coordinated events together with Georgian rescuers. The ministry was immediately in contact with the families of the injured tourists.
Two of the passengers were seriously wounded. Seven suffered moderate injuries and three were lightly wounded, suffering broken bones. Seven of the wounded were airlifted to Kutaisi by the Georgian government, which dispatched a Boeing 737 for the purpose, although the small runway at the Kutaisi airport had to be quickly modified to accommodate the large jet. From there, they were flown to Tbilisi, the capital, and then home to Israel, where they are expected to arrive late Sunday night.