Police spokesperson Eli Levy addressed the fatal traffic accident Tuesday in which five people were killed and dozens injured in a collision between a private vehicle and a bus in northern Israel.
"We will investigate whether the fatal accident was caused by another accident that preceded it," Levy told Galai Tzahal (IDF Radio). '' The accident is being investigated by the traffic department of the police, the commander of the Northern District is also in the area. This is a very narrow section of road, it is very difficult to evacuate the wounded."
Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana said following the accident: "My heart is broken by the harsh scenes from the north. I would like to send from the bottom of my heart strength and support to the family and friends of the victims, along with a wish for a speedy recovery to all the wounded."
MK Nir Barkat from the Likud said: "I heard with great sorrow about the terrible car accident in the Upper Galilee. I wish to embrace and share in the deep grief of the families of those killed and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, for whom we pray for a complete recovery."
The accident occurred when a bus with members of the Bnei Akiva youth group collided with a private vehicle on Route 89, causing the bus to overturn. The injured are in moderate and serious condition. Large numbers of police, United Hatzalah, and Magen David Adom personnel have been dispatched to the scene.
Ziv Medical Center in Safed received 20 injured patients from the accident, two in serious condition, one in moderate condition and 17 in light condition. One seriously injured man arrived at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. 27 children and adolescents were evacuated to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, 26 of them in light condition and one in moderate condition.
The bus that overturned in the accident belongs to the Bnei Akiva movement and was transporting campers back home from a Sukkot trip. The injured campers were evacuated to Ziv Hospital in Safed and the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. The movement's leaders are on the ground and on their way to the hospitals.
Among the passengers on the bus were 17 children from the locality of Mevo Dotan in northern Samaria. The children were on their way back from a Bnei Akiva Sukkot trip with other children from Harish.
Due to the nature of the incident, United Hatzalah's Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit has been dispatched to respond to the incident and provide emotional and psychological support in addition to emergency medical services (EMS) that are active at the scene.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and chapter Head of the Ma'alot region Oshri Eliyahu reported from the scene: "The incident involves a bus that is flipped over on its side as well as a large van and a private car. Thus far our volunteers have treated upwards of 20 people injured who are conscious. There are other injured who are unconscious as well as those who are still trapped that we haven't been able to reach yet. Firefighters are currently working to extricate them from the wreckage."
Eliyahu added: "Sadly, four people from the private vehicle involved in the crash were pronounced dead at the scene. These include a 35-year-old woman, a boy aged 15, another aged 12, and a 5-year-old girl. Our volunteers who are part of the Emergency Room Relief Project have gathered and are assisting with the reception and triage of patients in Ziv Hospital, The Galilee Medical center in Nahariya, and Rambam Hospital in Haifa."
MDA paramedic Kold Issa stated: "this was a very serious accident. We arrived with many MDA teams including mobile intensive care units, ambulances, Medi-cycles and an MDA helicopter. A bus was turned on its side across the road and the commercial van which had been severely damaged at the back was on the shoulder of the road with approximately 5 unresponsive victims trapped inside. While extrication efforts were under way, we were forced to declare 4 of the patients deceased and the driver was severely injured and evacuated in a helicopter while undergoing medical treatment. The bus driver was extricated while unresponsive and with severe multisystem injuries and after medical examination, we pronounced him deceased as well. 2 of the passengers from the bus, who were severely wounded were lying on the road with severe injuries to their limbs and tens of additional victims were walking around the scene. We provided them with medical treatment at the scene, the 2 severely injured victims were evacuated by helicopter to the hospital and the lightly injured victims were evacuated in MDA ambulances and mobile intensive care units to hospitals in Safed and Nahariya."