Soldier Dies in Kinneret Tragedy

Nineteen-year-old soldier Raz Yosef of Jerusalem died Sunday while enjoying Passover vacation with friends during his first leave.<br/>

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Maayana Miskin,

The Kinneret
The Kinneret
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Nineteen-year-old Raz Yosef of Jerusalem drowned Sunday while swimming in the Kinneret lake (Sea of Galilee). Yosef had been enjoying Passover vacation with friends during his first week-long leave from the IDF.

The incident took place on the Tiveria (Tiberias) municipal beach. Raz was playing with friends when he disappeared from sight.

Lifeguards and rescue crews responded to the report of his disappearance and searched the water, but found him only 40 minutes later. Resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

Friends who were with Raz at the beach have accused the lifeguard on duty – who they say was stationed a considerable distance from the place Raz drowned – of being slow to respond. The municipality rejected the claims, and said the lifeguard reacted appropriately. Local police are investigating the incident to determine whether negligence was involved.

Raz’s relatives described him as a friendly, helpful young man. The family lost a grandfather just over a week earlier.