Rafael accident investigation begins

Rafael, gov't, police to probe blast in sensitive plant; 12 workers wounded.

rafael logo 88 (photo credit: )
rafael logo 88
(photo credit: )
Vice Admiral (Res.) Yedidiya Ya'ari, the president and CHO of Rafael, the Armament Development Authority in Kiryat Bialik, appointed an investigative committee to determine the cause of an explosion in which 12 workers were injured on Monday afternoon. Shortly after the incident, it became apparent that the explosion was the cause of a work accident and not the result of a terror attack. A permanent Magen David Adom team located at the site immediately began treating the wounded at the plant's clinic. Ten of the workers sustained minor injuries and the condition of two others was listed as moderate to light. They were all evacuated to the Bnei Zion, Carmel and Rambam hospitals located in the Haifa area. Israel Police and Fire Department officials, who also arrived at the site minutes after the blast, were barred from accessing the security-sensitive compound. Only later did officials permit a small team of policemen and a bomb expert to enter the site where the explosion occurred. The Ministry of Labor and the Israel Police will also conduct a probe to determine the cause of the blast. A statement released by the management said it appeared the accident occurred as a result of a faulty battery in a diesel engine located in an enclosed area. Officials refused to divulge further details. A plant official confirmed that it was the first accident of its kind in the plant in recent years. Rafael focuses on developing sophisticated weapons and electronic systems. In the past, it was involved together with Israel Aircraft Industries' Elta Group and General Dynamics in developing a revolutionary protective shield system called Trophy. Fitted on the army's armored vehicles, it was designed to intercept and destroy missiles and rockets with a shotgun like blast just before they hit. Rafael designs, develops, manufactures and supplies a wide range of advanced defense systems. These include naval, air and ground precision weapons, electro-optic systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) systems, acoustic defense systems, armored protection and training systems. Rafael has also supplied components for the Ofek 6 satellite. Last October, the Navy revealed plans to deploy an unmanned speedboat equipped with a remote-controlled machine gun capable of being operated at a range of up to 20 kilometers. Rafael also developed the inflatable vessel called the "Protector".