- Title: ISRAEL: Wounded from bus crash that killed 24 Russians speak about accident
- Date: 18th December 2008
- Summary: NEAR EILAT, ISRAEL (DECEMBER 17, 2008) (REUTERS) OVERTURNED BUS LYING IN VALLEY NEAR RECOVERY WORKERS AND OTHER TRUCKS WORKERS LOOKING AT BUS INTERIOR OF OVERTURNED BUS CONSTRUCTION CRANE NEAR OVERTURNED BUS BULLDOZER PUSHING BUS UPRIGHT VARIOUS OF HEAVILY DAMAGED BUS AFTER IT WAS TURNED UPRIGHT ISRAELI POLICE OFFICER TAKING PHOTO ISRAELI POLICE OFFICER LOOKING AT BUS WIDE OF POLICE AND BUS (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) UNIDENTIFIED MAN FROM RESCUE TEAM SAYING: "If he was using a safety belt, and the driver would have paid attention that everybody was using safety belts, the amount of injured would have been much lower". BULLDOZER LIFTING FRONT END OF BUS
- Reuters ID: LVA8Q5SU3WV8G1BZLLDBKWMJ0T5R
- Location: Israel
- Country: Israel
- Duration: 00:01:15
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: A day after bus crash that killed at least 24 Russian travel agents, those who survived speak of their horrific experience.
Recovery workers and police continued to comb over an accident site in southern Israel Wednesday (December 17), where up to 30 Russian travel agents were killed after their tour bus ran off the road and fell into a desert ravine on Tuesday (December 16).
The crash which occurred north of the Red Sea resort of city of Eilat, was the worst recorded road accident in recent Israeli history. Rescue services said 24 people were confirmed dead. The Russian ambassador said he had been told the death toll was 30.
On Wednesday at the crash site, one investigator said the casualty count could have been lower if precautions had been taken.
"If he was using a safety belt, and the driver would have paid attention that everybody was using safety belts, the amount of injured would have been much lower."
Video of the bus driver shot on a mobile phone camera, aired on Israeli television late Tuesday. The driver, Edward Gelfond, said something had fallen onto him just before the accident.
"While I was to pass, something fell on me. I was trying to get people out of bus. (Q: Were you speeding?) No more than 70 Kilometres per hour (about 40 Miles per hour)," Gelfond said.
Israeli soldiers, police and rescue workers rushed to the scene after the accident. Israeli military helicopters and airplanes flew the injured to hospitals across Israel.
At the Soroka University Medical Centre in Beersheba Wednesday some of the injured recounted the accident.
"I remember that the driver wanted to pass. I remember this. I was in the third seat from the front. And then everyone screamed, and we fell down to the valley. This I remember," Kolmina Nadejda Yurievna said.
"They say that I was hurt less than everyone else from the group, so I'm happy that for me itgood," Potemkina Elena said.
A Soroka administrator said his hospital had received nine patients, and that some remained in serious condition.
"The Soroka University Medical Centre received nine seriously wounded patients from the accident on the way to Eilat yesterday. Five of them are in serious condition, and are in the intensive care units at the hospital.
Two of them required surgery overnight, and their situation has stabilised.
Three additional patients are in serious condition in the general surgery ward, and will probably require additional surgery today. The final patient is in light condition in our orthopaedics department, and will hopefully be able to be discharged in the next few days," Dr. Shlomi Codish, Deputy Director General of the Soroka University Medical Centre said.
Family members, and Russian medical teams were scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday to assist in the treatment of the crash victims. Also, the Israeli military said it was preparing to fly the bodies of the crash victim to Russia.
Israel's Tourism Ministry said the bus was one of two carrying a group of travel agents who had just arrived from St. Petersburg at Ovda airport, which serves Eilat.
Eilat, a Red Sea resort on the Gulf of Aqaba, located at Israel's southern tip, bordering Jordan and Egypt, is a popular destination for northern tourists seeking winter sunshine.
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