Six people died and five were seriously injured in Israel’s second multiple-casualty traffic accident in one week.
According to police reports, a truck traveling on Route 90 near the Petzael Junction collided with a van carrying residents of east Jerusalem and its surrounding area who were traveling to work at a factory in Beit She’an. Brothers Lutfi and Raja‘ay Zahda from Wadi Joz were among those killed in the crash. Other casualties included Ala’a Qarash from Jerusalem’s Old City; Ahmad al-Ayoubi from Za’im; and Majda Sila and Majd Samara from Kafr Akab.
Paramedics arrived at the scene and transferred the injured by helicopter to hospitals, according to Magen David Adom.
MDA paramedic Dennis Polkov said: “This is a very serious road accident between a truck and a van. In the middle of the road, we saw the van, which was severely damaged in the front; two people in their 30s suffering from serious wounds to their upper bodies; and eight passengers trapped inside the vehicle. We gave the wounded, who were outside the vehicle, life-saving medical care and they were evacuated by helicopters to the hospital when their condition was serious but stable.”
Firefighters rescued two more victims – one who was unconscious and had received CPR at the scene – and they were also taken by helicopter to the hospital. Six additional victims who were rescued from the vehicle were unconscious with very severe multi-system injuries.
“We carried out medical examinations, but they showed no signs of life; within a short time we had to pronounce their death at the scene,” Polkov continued, adding that the truck driver was examined and did not need to be hospitalized.
Four of the injured were taken to the trauma unit of Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem: an 18-year-old in serious condition, a 17-year-old in light condition, a 31-year-old in light condition and a 50-year-old in moderate condition
Route 90 was closed in both directions. The driver of the truck was taken by police for questioning, according to Army Radio. According to initial reports and a traffic video, the truck driver swerved out of his lane into the oncoming van.
Following the accident, commentators on radio talk shows blamed the accident on a combination of reckless driving, lack of barriers between the lanes on the road and poor infrastructure.
Last Tuesday, a family of eight from Psagot, including six children, died
when they were trapped inside their burning car following a head-on collision on the same Route 90 near Ein Bokek, over 100 kilometers away.
“I killed them; I will never drive again in my life,” the driver of the second vehicle told police, according to media reports.
The driver, his wife and their 12-year-old child were injured and evacuated to Beersheba’s Soroka University Medical Center. After receiving treatment, he was arrested on manslaughter charges.