Infants were pulled out from above - and saved from disaster

First responder who became trapped in 'passage of death' tells how the tragedy unfolded. 'Police had blocked the only path to the exit, I am still not certain of the reason.'

Ben Shaul ,

Tragedy in Meron
Tragedy in Meron
David Cohen/Flash90

A paramedic who was at the scene of the Meron disaster in order to provide aid to visitors found himself fighting for his life, Hamevaser reported.

Moshe Landsman, a resident of Beitar Illit, told Hamevaser how the tragic disaster unfolded, minute by minute, adding that there were "open miracles" as well as tragedy and death.

"For a decade, I've been participating in the Toldot Aharon bonfire," he told the haredi newspaper. "I know that path down very well. Every year, difficult situations are created there. It's an explosive area and looking back, I understand that every year, open miracles occurred there."

"On this Lag Ba'omer, I was part of the security for the event. Throughout the bonfire lighting, people saw me with the vest and asked me for water, because already during the first stage of the event, it was very hot there.

"At some point, I decided to leave the area, because I found that I was sweating terribly. It happened a few minutes after the Rebbe lit the bonfire. The moment I arrived at the deadly passage, I heard people screaming, 'Police aren't letting anyone pass, go back!'

"The bottom line is, even if I wanted to - turning around was irrelevant. At that time I did not understand the logic of the police, who had blocked the only path to the exit. Even looking back I am not certain of the reason for the blockage - but it is clear to me, with certainty, that there was a blockage there.

"There was tremendous congestion there. In my heart I hoped that the thousands who were there would push the barricade and burst out. But the minutes passed and it did not happen. I was standing there for 5-10 minutes, people saw my vest, yelled, 'Hatzalah!' but my hands were tied and I could not offer help. Not to myself, and certainly not to others. At some point I saw people around me fainting.

"To my great horror, some of the people became trapped there with their three-year-old child who had just had his first haircut. A person from the second level, from the hospitality, who saw what was happening and screamed terrifying screams that 'there are people dead, we need to open,' reached his hand into the crowd, lifted the children up, and saved their lives - literally.

"From the other side, there was a tall iron fence. I saw people climbing on the fence and saving their lives. I understood that this was my chance. But I simply wasn't able to, from a physical standpoint. You need to understand that people arrived there already suffering from difficulty breathing.

"I saw a person beside me bend down to pick up his kippah (skullcap), which had fallen, and remain down. I thought about what happened at Rabbi Wosner's funeral.

"At this point I was already groggy. And then the passageway opened. I didn't think twice and jumped forward. I will admit that I did not see what I was stepping on - I only thought how I could remain alive. On the way I saw bodies lying on the ground, injured people being treated by first responders. I wanted to join the life-saving efforts but I was unable to.

"A volunteer who met me petrified evacuated me to the clinic, and there I burst out crying for several hours. Slowly I internalized the enormity of the disaster and how with G-d's help my life was saved."



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