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Rachel Atias Struggling With Loss

The seven year old survivor of the tragic accident that claimed 8 members of the Atias family is trying to come to grips with her loss
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/22/2012, 9:12 PM

The Crash Site
The Crash Site
Tzvika Leibl

Rachel Efrat Atias, 7, is still trying to comprehend the death of her entire family in a horrific traffic accident late Monday night.

"They're all dead, all dead?" She reportedly asked her uncle in tears on Tuesday. "They keep us up..."

Rachel, who alone survived the family car bursting into flames after it struck a rail and overturned, told her family about the seconds before the accident.

"The car started to move quickly and our mother told us to read from the book Psalms," she said. "We knew something was wrong and prayed."

"Mother kissed me, and there were screams in the car. Father called the police before we crashed, he cried and cried," she added.

Police officials on Tuesday said their initial investigation had concluded the accident that claimed eight members of the Attias family resulted from mechanical failure.

However, police stress the investigation is not complete. Investigators are now reportedly looking into the cause of the mechanical defect, and have not ruled out possible negligence on the part of vehicle inspectors.

To this end, Police are bringing in engineers from the Ministry of Transportation – and experts from an outside firm – to examine the car in detail.

The car passed inspection only three months ago, but the steep hills from Tzfat to Tiberias wear out brakes very quickly.

The Atias family late Monday night was returning to their home in the national religious community of Bar Yochai, located near Meron and Tzfat.

The driver, Rafael Atias, 42, realized his brakes were not working and phoned the emergency hotline.

As the car sped down a hill out of control, Atias' wife Yehudit, 42, abruptly stopped a conversation with the hotline and screamed. “G-d. Save us. HaShem, save us.”

The victims, besides the parents, are Avia, 17, twins Eliyashiv and Neria Shimon, 16, Shira, 11, Tair, 8 and Noa, 4.