Israeli woman dies in off-road competition in India

Gadera resident killed as "Desert Queen" outdoor adventure ends in disaster; two others injured.

Israeli vehicle is towed away from embassy_390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Israeli vehicle is towed away from embassy_390
(photo credit: Reuters)
Shoshana Meizel, 63, of Gedera, was killed Friday morning when her jeep overturned during an off-road accident in an isolated corner of the Himalayas in northern India during an all-women’s outdoor adventure journey.
Two other Israeli women traveling with Meizel were lightly to moderately hurt in the accident and were evacuated to a local hospital, and subsequently to a hospital in Mumbai. The cause of the accident still has not been determined.
The Foreign Ministry and the embassy in New Delhi have set up a situation room to deal with the accident and are arranging the return of Meizel’s body to Israel.
According to the company that runs the Desert Queen adventure, the women are located in an area whose remoteness has complicated rescue efforts.
On the Desert Queen Facebook page on Saturday, the company said “a serious disaster has happened – during the Desert Queen journey to the upper Himalayas a jeep overturned, and as a result three women out of the four in the vehicle were hurt.” The post added that the three other woman were lightly to moderately injured and the company was doing everything it could to treat the injured.
In later posts the company added that the Geographic Society and Desert Queen staff were “doing everything we can to assist the family of Shoshana Meizel, those who were injured, those taking part in the trip and their families.”
It said the participants were located in an area without cellular reception and messages could not be received, although it had set up a situation room at the scene.
Meizel was taking part in the 15th-annual Desert Queen outdoor adventure trip.
According to Desert Queen, the trip is for Israeli women from different backgrounds and is meant to give them an eye-opening adventure experience traveling to areas “far off the tourist map.”
The trips were launched by Israel’s Geographic Society in 1999, with the first group traveling from Israel to Jordan, which the company says had a special emphasis on peace.
Each year the trip hits a different far-off trail. This year it is exploring “the slopes of the Indian Himalayas, the land of the gods, the holy rivers and the mountain peaks of pilgrim dreams,” the company website says, before describing a journey that runs from green mountain slopes to the Tibetan plateau, visiting distant mountain temples and taking in the local culture of the Himalayas.
According to the website, the trips were the first and remain the largest all-female off-road adventures. It adds that they are open “to any woman who believes in herself and knows that she can deal with physical and mental challenges.”
Last month, an Israeli backpacker was killed in a rockslide near the northern Indian city of Dharamsala. The woman was hit by a rock and died before rescue services arrived.
Some 40,000 to 50,000 Israelis travel to India each year.