Tragedy in north: Car overturns, 8 family members killed
Mini-van carrying family from Bar Yohai careens into wadi near Tiberias, apparently due to brake malfunction; 'car lit up like a torch,' witness says
Six children and their parents were killed overnight Tuesday when a mini-van overturned and caught fire near Tiberias in northern Israel, Ynet reported.
A seven-year-old girl survived the accident and was evacuated to the Poriah Medical Center with light to moderate wounds.
'There was nothing we could do.' Car after accident (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
According to an initial investigation, the driver lost control of the vehicle at the Western entrance to Tiberias due to a problem with its brakes. The vehicle hit the railing, rolled downhill off the side of the road and burst into flames.
Rescue workers at the scene (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
The victims are all members of the same family from the Bar Yohai community in the Upper Galilee. Their names have been cleared for publication: Rafael Atias, 42, the principal of the Miftan school in Safed, his wife Yehudit, 42, and six of their children – Avia, 17, a student at the Meron Ulpana high school for girls, twins Eliyashiv and Neria Shimon, 16, Shira, 11, Tair, 8 and Noa, 4.
Atias family (archives)
Police reported that a woman called the 100 emergency hotline from the vehicle and told the dispatcher that the car's brakes had ceased to function.
The dispatcher who took the call heard the crash occur while he was on the line with the driver. The officer who arrived at the scene witnessed the vehicle careening into a wadi and bursting into flames.
The girl who survived the accident was thrown out of the vehicle when it overturned.
Tiberias resident Alon Tamir arrived at the scene a few minutes after the accident. "There was nothing we could do. I saw a vehicle burning like a torch," he said.
An MDA paramedic said the girl who survived the accident "is not really aware of what had happened. She said she tried to wake the parents up but could not."