Hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the roads on Wednesday, the first day of Chol Hamoed (in Israel), jamming parks and attractions large and small on an unusually warm day. Unfortunately it was not a day without tragedy, as at least one person expired from dehydration while on a hike, and the search was on for three people who went missing in the Kinneret.
That search extended into the late night, as authorities dispatched boats and helicopters to search for the three young adults – including a 21-year-old from Beitar Ilit, and two teens from Netanya and Kiryat Shmona – who went missing in three separate incidents. The three went missing in three separate incidents with remarkably similar circumstances – sucked deep into the lake while they were floating on a raft.
The search has been on for them since the morning hours when they disappeared. Police said that with every hour the chances of finding them alive diminished. They added that rescue services had assisted over 80 people who faced similar circumstances.
Meanwhile, a hiker in his 40s succumbed to an apparent case of dehydration while on a hike in Nachal Arugot in southern Israel. He collapsed while in the company of a group who alerted rescue services. The services attempted to revive the victim but were unable to. Also late Wednesday, a 23-year-old resident of Kedumim was killed by an accidental gunshot, which happened when he and a friend were cleaning their personal weapons.
In the wake of expected stormy weather Thursday, authorities are cautioning those who plan on doing outdoor activities to be doubly cautious. Temperatures are expected to drop overnight by at least ten degrees Celsius, and flash floods – especially in the wadis and trails of the Negev and eastern mountains, very popular at this time of year – are possible. Some areas of the country could experience dust storms overnight Wednesday and into Thursday, and heavy rain and even hail could occur at times. The sea – including the Kinneret – is expected to have very high waves as well.