Klal Yisrael was plunged into shock and grief on Sunday evening as news of a horrific highway accident with multiple deaths and injuries, including several children, suddenly filled the headlines.
Six people were killed and another ten others injured on early Sunday evening when an Egged “mehadrin” bus en route from Yerushalayim to Bnei Brak collided with a truck parked in its path, according to initial reports.
The names of five of the niftarim were released on Sunday night: Yaakov Meir Cheshin, z”l, 27, of Yerushalayim; Yisrael Weinberg, z”l, 26, of Yerushalayim; Levi Yitzchak Amduri, z”l, 17, of Yavniel; Aharon Mordechai Cohen, z”l, 18, of Bnei Brak; and Mrs. Pesha Frankel, a”h, 23.
Surgeons at Assaf HaRofeh Hospital were fighting to save the life of Sara Springer, 20, who was to go to the chuppah in a few weeks. The family asked that people daven for Sara bas Dina.
The family of one of the seriously injured, a woman in her twenties, asked the public to daven for Sara bat Dafna.
Dozens of Hatzala and Zaka units from the Yerushalayim and Beit Shemesh branches were dispatched to the scene, along with police and ambulances.
“The bus collided with a truck transporting marble plates, which was parked on the side of the road. A part of the bus got ripped in two. People were thrown into the air while the bus was moving,” said ZAKA spokesman Motti Burkchin.
The right side of the bus, No. 402, was destroyed in the crash.
MDA officials said that nine of the injured passengers on the No. 402 bus were evacuated to the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, The Assaf Harofeh Medical Center at Tzrifin and to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.
One was described as in critical condition, one in serious condition, three in moderate condition and one was lightly injured.
“I have no words. I have never seen anything this shocking before,” said Minister of Health Rabbi Yaakov Litzman at the scene.
Moshe Teitelbaum, head of Hatzala, reported that a motorcycle unit of Hatazala at the scene described a terrible sight, a number of people lying unconscious. Due to the severity of the disaster, emergency units from all cities within 20 minutes of the scene were called in, including Yerushalayim, Beit Shemesh and Telstone.
Yechiel Miller of Hatzala said that “when I got to the crash site I came upon a boy and two girls lying unconscious without a pulse, as well as a number of adult passengers who were conscious and suffering from serious injuries. Along with other emergency personnel, I offered first aid to the injured.”
Egged issued a statement saying that the bus apparently hit the truck which was standing on the side of the road but jutting out into the traffic lane. The driver seems to have not noticed that the truck was in his path, according to Egged, which said the accident will be investigated.
The driver of the truck, an Arab resident of eastern Yerushalayim in his 40s, sustained light injuries and was taken in by police for questioning.
Avi Boskila, an eyewitness to the collision, said that he saw the driver of the truck intentionally move into the path of the bus after waiting on the side of the road. The driver did nothing to avoid the crash.
Boskila, driving his own Toyota near the scene, stopped to give first aid to injured passengers.
Ichud B’Ichud medical volunteer Daniel Ben-David said, “When I reached the scene I came across a serious crash involving an Egged bus and a truck.”
“Some of the bus passengers were trapped and unconscious, and more than 20 additional wounded were conscious. I asked for help from additional volunteers,” added Ben-David.
“At this point the forces are still streaming into the area to help with initial medical treatment for the wounded, some of whom are still trapped under the vehicles.”
Highway 1, on which the incident took place, was closed to all traffic westbound between the Latrun Interchange and the Anava Interchange, and around the Sha’ar HaGai Interchange.
Updated Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm
Updated Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm
Updated Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 8:27 pm names of niftarim
Updated Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm