Corporal Evyatar Yosefi dies after being swept away by Hilazon River

The weather at the time did not play a major role in the tragedy and the military is carrying out investigations into the deadly incident.

Evyatar Yosefi (photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Evyatar Yosefi
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
The Israeli military has opened three investigations after an elite IDF soldier died on Monday morning after being swept away by the Hilazon stream near Karmiel in the Upper Galilee.
Cpl. Evyatar Yosefi from Givat Shmuel, 20, served in the Gadsar paratrooper reconnaissance battalion. He was buried in the military section of the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Tel Aviv, and was posthumously promoted to sergeant.
Speaking on Monday’s Hadashot news, family members said someone needs to take responsibility for Yosefi’s death.
“How did such a thing happen?” his uncle was quoted as saying. “They took our child and did not return him.”
Lashing out at the IDF, he asked, “Who gave the order to conduct navigation drills in such stormy weather?”
Yosefi was swept away while participating in a navigation training exercise. His unit had been hiking around the stream working in pairs to learn how to navigate in the wilderness.
According to the IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, it is not known why Yosefi and his partner tried to cross the stream. The weather at the time did not play a major role in the tragedy and the navigation exercise had been approved prior.
An investigation into the deadly incident was opened by the head of the Central Command Maj.-Gen. Roni Numa, who appointed the commander of the Etzion Brigade, Col. Oren Simcha, to investigate the incident. Military Police will also investigate, and the deceased soldier’s commanders will also submit a report.
Following the incident, the head of the Ground Forces, Maj.-Gen. Kobi Barak, ordered that all training exercises revolving around navigation be stopped until the investigations have been completed.
Around 5 a.m., Yosefi and his partner were told that the unit would regroup and were ordered to return to a specific spot. The two reached the Hilazon stream, which due to rains overnight had swelled to a height of one meter. While Yosefi’s partner succeeded in crossing the stream, Yosefi slipped and fell into the stream. His partner threw him a rope but Yosefi was swept away by the current. It is unclear whether he couldn’t reach the rope because of the rushing water, or whether he hit his head when he fell on the riverbank.
He was found two hours later by rescue services 100 meters away. The rescue mission was carried out by police together with volunteers from the Galilee rescue unit, the IAF and the 669 rescue unit. During the mission, two other soldiers were lightly injured and received medical treatment at the scene.