'Storm Chaser' Hikers Rescued by IDF Helicopter

It took IDF soldiers in a helicopter to rescue two youths who got stuck in a flash flood near the Dead Sea.

Moshe Cohen ,

Effects of rain in Golan Heights (file)
Effects of rain in Golan Heights (file)
Flash 90

It took several IDF soldiers in a helicopter to rescue two youths stuck in a flash flood near the Dead Sea.

After nearly 15 hours in the rain and wind, the two were found and removed from Nachal Og, where they survived by remaining on high ground throughout the night. They have been taken to a hospital in Rehovot for rest and treatment.

The two were among several Israelis affected by what weather experts said was Israel's worst November winter storm in 20 years. Rain and wind moved into the area, pounding most of the country with heavy precipitation throughout Tuesday and into early Thursday.

Forecasters expect the rain to continue Thursday but with less intensiveness before tapering off Friday.

The two hikers - “storm chasers” who take hikes in inclement weather – said that they were caught off guard by the sudden rush of water into Nachal Og, along a hiking route they were very familiar with.

The water quickly reached a level of 1.5 meters (4 feet), rendering much of their equipment useless. The two reported that they had to swim in order to reach higher ground, where they remained throughout the night.

The two were able to call rescue stations, but were unable to specify their exact location. Rescue parties were dispatched, with more rescuers added as the night progressed. Eventually, the IDF sent soldiers from Unit 669 to help out, and it was they who found the pair. They were evacuated by helicopter.

Noam Eldan, who coordinated the rescue mission on behalf of the Megillot Regional Council, said that the mission had been “complicated and difficult, and put a number of rescuers in danger.” He appealed to Israeli hikers to keep abreast of weather reports and to avoid areas where flooding is likely.

On Wednesday, three brothers, ages 7, 9, and 11, got stuck in a deep puddle of mud and water in Hod Hasharon after being swept there by a stream of water. They were stuck there for hours, until police were able to get them out. T

The children were treated by Magen David Adom workers at the scene. At least one of the children is in serious condition after nearly drowning, but is expected to recover.

Also on Wednesday, a yeshiva student in Jerusalem who was swept away by a powerful stream was found alive and well. The student had been walking with several teenage friends, who said that he had “disappeared” near a flowing stream that had been created by the heavy rain that fell Wednesday afternoon. A search was launched for the student, and he was found “downstream” about two hours later.  



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