American Tourist Third Victim Identified in Deadly Bus Crash


Seventy-one-year-old Berta Schwartz, from Philadelphia, was the third person to be identified as having been killed in an Egged bus crash near Ben Gurion airport on Sunday night.

She was traveling with her husband Baruch, with whom she had celebrated a 40th wedding anniversary last Thursday. Baruch, who was sitting in the row behind his wife when the bus hit a concrete installation, survived the accident.

In Israel for the first time in nine years, they were looking forward to the birth of their 18th grandchild, according to Arutz Sheva.

He recalled: “For more than half an hour I was yelling: ‘Where is she? Where is she?’ She was underneath the concrete [of the bus stop]. I remember going out and shouting ‘Get the firefighters, my wife is under the concrete!’”

On Sunday, the couple drove from Petach Tikva, where they were renting an apartment, to the Kosel.

“Because she said she had to be at the Western Wall,” said Baruch. “…She was very happy.”

Berta Schwartz is survived by her husband Baruch, her two daughters and one son, and seventeen grandchildren, with another expected in the next two weeks.

Two other victims were identified as Hailey Varenberg, 35, a resident of Yerushalayim, originally from Capetown, South Africa, who worked as an English teacher at a high school.

79-year-old Yosef Kahalani, from Petach Tivkva, was listed as the third victim.

The fourth name has yet to be cleared for publication.

Fourteen others were injured in the crash, including the driver, 44-year-old Haifa resident Alexander Leibman. He was arrested on suspicion of negligent driving, but so far investigators have not been able to ascertain the cause of the crash. Leibman told police he doesn’t know what happened, he wasn’t distracted by texting, said he wasn’t tired, and no trace of alcohol or other drugs were found in his system.

The deaths brought to 345 the number of people killed in traffic accidents during 2019 in Israel, according to figures from the National Road Safety Authority. Last year, 316 people were killed on the country’s roads.