Tel Aviv Elevator Disaster: 'Extremely rare incident by any measure'

The copious amounts of rain in the Tel Aviv area led to a complete collapse of the drainage system, resulting in 2 tragic deaths.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rescue of trapped persons in Tel Aviv elevator
Rescue of trapped persons in Tel Aviv elevator
יחידת תיעוד מבצעי כב"ה מחוז דן

Israel's Fire and Rescue Services released preliminary conclusions on Sunday of the investigation into the tragic incident in south Tel Aviv on Saturday in which a young couple, Dean Shoshani and Stav Harari, drowned in a flooded elevator.

The investigation revealed that the Fire and Rescue Services 102 hotline received thousands of calls on Saturday about flooded homes and streets due to the stormy weather in the Gush Dan area.

In light of the increasingly severe weather conditions and amount of rain, reinforcements were dispatched to the Tel Aviv district stations, including three designated teams from the Lehava (Flame) Unit, an elite firefighting unit whose members are skilled in performing complex rescues and diving. Additionally, five Central District fire and rescue teams were dispatched, four of which were equipped with advanced rescue equipment and one of which was a Specialized Rescue Unit equipped with a boat.

Between the hours of 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m, the hotline received and responded to 2,735 calls and 200 operational reports were tended to.

At the time of the incident, a total of 19 Fire and Rescue Service teams were operating in Tel Aviv, which responded to dozens of operational incidents of floods and rescues on the streets of the city, some of which were very close to Nadav Street where the elevator incident occurred.

Fire and Rescue Services noted that the first firefighters who arrived at the incident on Nadav Street were alerted after tending to an incident of fire on the same street. They first arrived at the scene of the flooded elevator at 1:08 p.m.

At 1:13 p.m., firefighters from the scene of the incident reported to the hotline that there was a chance that people were stuck in the elevator and were not responding and that the entire parking lot and lobby levels were flooded without any possibility of access.

At 1:27 p.m., the commander of the shift reported that they had ascertained that there were definitely trapped persons in the elevator.

At 1:33 p.m., a Lehava (Flame) Unit was dispatched to Nadav Street 2 to rescue the trapped persons. The unit commander decided to split the forces into two teams while responding to another life-threatening rescue event nearby.

Beginning at 1:51 p.m., the Lehava Unit as well as divers and other specialists in complex rescues arrived at the incident and began rescue operations.

The firefighters worked resolutely and professionally to reach the trapped victims. Due to the complexity of the rescue and the murky water environment at zero visibility, rescue efforts continued until 2:40 p.m., when they extricated the first trapped person.

At 3:43 p.m., the second trapped person was extricated.

The Fire Services requested to emphasize that the incident in Tel Aviv is the kind of local incident that couldn't have been predicted in advance if and where it would occur within the area where the rainfall was expected, despite the forecast for rain, thunderstorms and coastal flooding.

Additionally, the incident was exceptionally rare by any scale. Between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., 74 millimeters of rain fell in the area, resulting in a complete collapse of the drainage system.

The firefighters arrived at the scene at 1:08 p.m. and were the first to arrive.




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