Man suspected of fleeing Israel on raft

Holon resident nabbed off coast with old car, ample supplies for long journey.

raft silly 298 (photo credit: Israel Police)
raft silly 298
(photo credit: Israel Police)
The Tel Aviv Marine Police are used to receiving distress calls about people missing in the dark Mediterranean waters. But on Saturday night they were in for a surprise. The unit, stationed at the Tel Aviv Marina, received a call from a man who claimed his friend had launched a raft off the shores of Bat Yam and planned to sail illegally out of Israel. The police officers climbed aboard their high-powered speedboat and headed off in the direction of Bat Yam to begin their searches. What they found shocked them: A raft made out of two pontoons supporting an old Citroen BX 1998 model filled with food and supplies. The "ship," named Princess of Geriatry, was captained by Michael Haimsky, a 40-year-old metalworker, who rejected reports he planned to flee the country and told police he had recently completed building the raft and was out in the water testing its floating capabilities. Haimsky was taken, along with the raft, to the Tel Aviv Marina and following an initial interrogation by Marine Police, was transferred to the Ayalon Police for further investigation. Police who discovered the "boat" said they didn't know how to react except by laughing. "This isn't even a boat," head of the Marine Police Ch.-Supt. David Revivo said. "This is just a piece of art." A year ago, the Navy intercepted a raft made out of hundreds of empty bottles some 28 kilometers off the Haifa coast. The builder and sailor of the bottle raft was a 35-year-old resident of Nesher who was initially detained by police on suspicions he tried leaving the country illegally. He was later released without being charged.