A port employee drowned and two others were found unharmed on Thursday afternoon after a tugboat capsized near the shores of Ashkelon.
The drowning victim was identified as Aryeh Gabai, a 40-year-old worker on the Trans-Israel pipeline. He was survived by his wife and three children.
According to Ashkelon Port manager Itzik Levy, a tugboat was sent out to sea to assist a ship which had reported a motor fault. The smaller boat, however, apparently hit the ship and began to sink with three crew members on board.
"Two of the three crewmen who had manned the tugboat were rescued, but the third went missing," Levy said in an Army Radio interview conducted two hours after the incident occurred.
Police said the boat went down after it was "struck" but as of yet have not stated what exactly hit the boat, or whether the sinking was a security issue.