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Two killed, 184 injured in bleachers collapse at Hassidic synagogue

CM 17/05/2021

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Two people were killed and 184 injured when newly installed bleachers at a new Hassidic synagogue in Givat Zeev collapsed during celebrations Sunday night. 
Security camera footage of the incident at the new premises of the Karlin Stolin Hassidic community showed hundreds of Hassidim falling away as the top three rows of the bleachers collapsed during festivities on Shavuot eve at 19:14. 
The Hassidim were reportedly celebrating the induction of the new synagogue together with the grand rabbi of the Karlin Stolin Hassidic community, with some 600 people in attendance, according to Channel 12. 
Hundreds of emergency services personnel including police and Magen David Adom paramedics descended quickly on the disaster site and extracted dozens of the injured and provided emergency medical treatment. 
A man aged 40 and a young boy aged 12 were killed in the incident, while 184 others received treatment at the site or were evacuated to several hospitals, the majority to Shaare Tzedek and the rest to Hadassah Ein Karem, Hadassah Mount Scopus, and Sheba hospital in Tel Hashomer.
Of those injured, five suffered serious injuries and 10 moderate wounds. 
Avi Sheff, an MDA paramedic who arrived at the scene of the disaster said dozens of injured people piled on top of each other and trapped under the ruins of the collapsed bleachers, when he reached the synagogue. 

“While performing initial examinations and triage, we rescued the injured and took them to the many MDA ambulances and emergency mobile units who had been sent to the scene,” said Sheff. 
MDA paramedic Moshe Tubolsky said after the incident that “when I arrived, there was a big commotion, people shouted and ran everywhere telling me that the bleachers had collapsed with dozens inside the synagogue.”
“A number of lightly wounded people were near the entrance and civilians led me to a severely wounded man who was lying on the floor nearby, unconscious and suffering from a head injury,” said Tubolsky.
“While other large MDA teams were scanning the scene and providing medical care to other wounded people, I put him in an ambulance, gave him life-saving medical care that included anesthesia and breath support and he was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in serious condition.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he was “praying” for those wounded in the incident.
The injured sustained broken bones, severe crush injuries, and head and abdominal trauma. 
Prof. Iri Libergal, the director of the Orthopedic Center at Hadassah hospital told Ynet that numerous life-saving orthopedic, neurological and abdominal surgeries were performed during the course of Sunday night on the seriously wounded.
Further surgeries were carried out during the course of Monday. 
MDA services reportedly supplied hospitals in the Jerusalem region with 237 doses of blood or plasma in response to the massive influx of patients. 
During Monday, it emerged that warnings by various officials had been issued saying that the synagogue was not fit for large numbers of worshippers.
Fire and Rescue Services sent an email on Sunday morning to the relevant parties at the Givat Ze’ev local council, clarifying that the planned Shavuot event at the synagogue had not received approval from them due to ongoing construction at the site.
Speaking with N12, Jerusalem district police commissioner Doron Turjeman said: “Once again we arrive at an event that involves negligence and irresponsible conduct. The station commander informed the head of the council that this structure is forbidden for prayers and large gatherings.”
He blamed the local council for failing to stop the event, saying: “This is a synagogue – a local authority has all the powers required within the law to deal with it. There is a local authority’s responsibility here in all aspects of authority.”
The police published a document on Sunday evening that was sent from the Lev HaBira station in Jerusalem to the head of the council, stating that “the incident is not approved according to safety regulations. The local authority must send inspectors and ensure that the incident does not take place.”
Givat Ze’ev Local Council head Yossi Avrahami told N12 after the incident that “the council appealed to all those who are supposed to deal with these issues – appealed and warned them of this issue. I instructed my people not to approve this incident at any stage.” 
He added that earlier on Sunday afternoon, “we put up roadblocks with signs that say the site here is dangerous. The police told us they were [not accepting] responsibility for the incident.”
The disaster took place less than three weeks after the Mount Meron tragedy that resulted in 45 deaths. Both disasters apparently could have been avoided, considering the numerous early warnings provided. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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