A Russian-Israeli couple and two of their three children have died in a gas leak in their apartment in Russia, Yediot Aharonot reports. The victims were identified by Walla news as 50-year-old Alex Mardi, his wife, 45-year-old Marina Mardi, and their children Maxim (13) and Maria (10).
Their surviving son, 23-year-old Alon Mardi, who lives in Israel, told Yediot Aharonot, “I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it. I had no way to contact anyone to confirm it. I just saw the reports on the Russian websites this morning, saying that my whole family had died in Russia.”
“My world has been destroyed,” he said.
The Mardi family immigrated to Israel from Russia in 1999, and lived in Netanya for over a decade. Last August, the family decided to move back to Russia due to financial hardships in Israel.
“It was very hard for them to make a living in Israel. They decided to go back to Russia in order to give their children a better education,” Mardi explained.
“I thought it would be for their good to go back. Who would have thought it would end with this kind of tragedy. Now I’m alone in the world,” he said.
The family was found dead in their apartment in a city southwest of Moscow after neighbors complained of water leaking from the apartment. According to an initial investigation, they were killed in their sleep by a gas leak, possibly due to a faulty line.
Alon Mardi said he now faces a struggle to bring his family to Israel for burial. “The consul told me that if I don’t go identify them, they could be buried as anonymous persons in Russia,” he related. He hopes to bring them to Israel, he said, but added, “They’re talking about huge sums of money, something like $5,000 per body. I don’t know where I’ll get the money.”
“Now I need to get permission from the IDF to collect money to bring them to Israel, so they don’t bury them in a place I can’t visit,” he said.
Alon is a student of electrical engineering with the IDF’s Atudai program, a program in which the army funds gifted students’ university studies prior to their enlistment, and the students serve the IDF in their fields following graduation.