Dozens killed in stampede at Israel pilgrimage site
Israel : Dozens of people lost their lives in a stampede at a densely packed Jewish pilgrimage site in northern Israel. Hundreds of people were injured in the incident.
The disaster occurred in Meron at the site of the reputed tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a second-century Talmudic sage, where mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews flock to mark the Lag BaOmer holiday.
Last year, the site was closed due to coronavirus pandemic and this year it was the largest human gathering since the pandemic lockdown.
Earlier, the rescue workers claimed that the chaos was created after a section of seating collapsed, but later they confirmed that major injuries occurred due to stampede. Israeli media published an image of a row of bodies covered in plastic bags on the ground.
Emergency services have deployed six helicopters to evacuate the people.
The army said its medical teams and "a number of Israeli Air Force helicopters with medical teams... are assisting in the mass casualty incident in Mount Meron."
"The forces are assisting in the evacuation of injured and killed civilians and providing medical treatment at the scene," it added.
"This is one of the worst tragedies that I have ever experienced," said Lazar Hyman of the United Hatzalah volunteer rescue service, who was at the scene.
"I have not seen anything like this since I entered into the field of emergency medicine," he added.