Adiel Hasid, a 12th grade student who participated in the Bnei Tzion trip to Nahal Tzafit (Tzafit Stream) last week, on Sunday morning spoke about the trip and the ensuing tragedy.
Ten of the twenty-five teenage participants died during the hike, which took place during a storm in an area prone to flooding.
In an interview with Kan Bet, Hasid said, "We started walking in the stream, it was completely dry, and after we'd been walking for a short time light rains started falling. As we continued walking, the rain started to fall harder, and we came to a kind of bottleneck on the path. We didn't intend to split into groups, there were a lot of bottlenecks along the entire river, but there were no intentional groups."
"We didn't think about the danger. Beforehand, they talked to us and we hear them talking about the Air Force and meteorologists, and they told us that we would need to get out of the river at 3:00p.m. They did checks, and I don't think it's the mechina's (pre-military academy) fault, or the mechina head's fault. It's not their fault."
"The moment someone tells you that there won't be flooding where you're hiking, why should you bother taking preventive measures? The head of the mechina isn't guilty, he didn't say, 'Let's challenge our students and let them walk in a flood.' It was a very easy hike, it was our first hike, and all the rumors about the mechina are simply unrelated [to reality]."
Hasid also said that the rain started coming down harder later on.
"I stopped with the girls to organize our bags, and when we wanted to continue, we saw those who were swept away. I don't remember why I went towards them a step and a half, but suddenly I heard the loud noise of rocks exploding, walls crumbling, it was hundredths of a second, it happened so fast. I've seen a lot of floods, but a flood like this I've never seen.
"The instructors started yelling that there's a flood and everyone should climb up. I saw a stone step and I jumped, it was seconds, hundredths of a second. The first flow of water was filled with huge drifting stones. I saw everyone who didn't jump, all the other girls were swept away. The first flow was about a meter and a half. We started climbing and I felt the water rising. In my entire life I've never seen a flood like this, and I've seen a lot of floods," he emphasized.
At that point, Hasid said, nothing could be done.
"You couldn't help," he said. "When I turned around a second later, they'd all been swept away. The water started rising and rising and I climbed as high as possible until we reached the jeep path above us."