Friends of victims return after tragedy

"We parted from my son and his friends on March 10. Now we meet at the airport again, but only two of them are returning."

Bolivian accident 224.88 (photo credit: Shelly Paz)
Bolivian accident 224.88
(photo credit: Shelly Paz)
"We parted from my son Guy [Mor] and his friends Alon [Helbetz] and Liran Mizrahi here on March 10. Now we meet at the airport again, but only two of them are returning," Ronit Mor from Ramat Aviv said Monday as she met with her son, who came back from Bolivia after witnessing the death of his friend Liran Mizrahi and four young women from Haifa on Thursday. Ronit and the rest of the parents were waiting for their children to get off the plane following the tragedy that cut short their post-army trip to South America. The four returning friends - Helbetz, Mor, Liran Azrad and Mor Elbaz (who switched places in the vehicle with Mizrahi shortly before the accident occurred) - landed in Israel several hours after two of the coffins of the five dead Israelis had arrived. On Monday afternoon, the other three coffins arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport. The bodies were transferred to the Abu Kabir Forensics Institute for further identification. Ronit Mor said that she was not angry. "I am just upset this thing happened, and the only thing I want to do now is to hug my son. "Guy called me from the scene of the accident, and I could hardly manage to understand him, due to the great distress he was under. "It's the most horrible thing. Just a month and a half ago we were wishing them all the best experiences; it was a trip that they had worked toward and had dreamed about. Now we are here again, missing Liran, who was a childhood friend and just like one of the family." The four backpackers got off the plane and met with their anxious parents a long hour after the plane had landed. Exhausted, confused and mourning their friends, the four fell into their parents' arms. Without saying a word, the parents hugged their children, who seemed to be struggling to hold back their tears. "You know you are also my son," Ronit Mor told Helbetz. "We are all here for you if you need anything." The returning backpackers, including Mor Elbaz, 21, whose four friends Ortal Ducas, Sivan Budnizky, Adi Roseman and Danielle Atzmon, were killed in the accident, refused to speak to the media. "This is the hardest thing a parent can experience. To hear your child telling you what a horrible situation he is in, and not to be able to help, to ease the pain, to hug," Charley Azrad, Liran's father, said. "We didn't need to talk, all I did was hug him," Charley added shortly after the meeting with his son.