Avishai Kroani, driver of bus which fell from cliff
Avishai Kroani, driver of bus which fell from cliffCourtesy of the family

Authorities have identified one of the two victims killed in Thursday night’s deadly bus accident in Samaria as 37-year old Avishai Kroani, the driver of the bus.

Kroani and a second victim were killed when an Egged bus overturned, then fell off of a 1,000-foot (305-meter) cliff off of Highway 60, near the town of Maaleh Levona in Samaria. Seven others were injured in the accident.

A resident of the city of Ariel in central Samaria, Kroani leaves behind his wife and the couple’s five children.

The bus in question was part of Egged’s 462 line, and was making its way from Jerusalem towards Ariel.

Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shviro issued a statement Friday morning in response to the tragedy.

“The entire city of Ariel is with the Kroani family, who lost their father, Avishai, the driver of the bus which fell off the cliff into the chasm. Avishai, who was 37 years old, married to Idit, and a devoted father of five, was an exemplary family man.”

Menachem Leff, Head of the Binyamin region of United Hatzalah, said, “United Hatzalah first responders who arrived at the scene requested that lighting be brought, and that search and rescue crews, fire rescue crews and helicopters be dispatched in order to help reach those on the bus. Due to the severe nature of the incident, volunteers have also been dispatched from the Jerusalem and Samaria chapters of United Hatzalah."

Michael Chai Cohen, a volunteer from United Hatzalah who arrived at the scene of the accident, said that reaching the overturned bus proved to be very difficult.

"I came from the community of Adam (near Jerusalem, ed.) and when I arrived at the scene on foot, together with other volunteers, we had to walk for 10 minutes in the rain and mud until we got to the bus. Unfortunately, upon arrival we found several victims who were unconscious and without a pulse,” he said.

Victims of the accident were evacuated to the Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, the Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer and the Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem.