At least 44 people have passed away after a stampede at a spiritual festival in Israel led to a crush.
More than 100 have been injured at the Lag B’Omer events in Mount Meron, northern Israel.
The national ambulance service informed Sky News that “scores” of individuals have passed away, with the death toll continuing to increase.
What do we know so far?
The crush happened just after midnight on Friday after 10s of countless ultra-Orthodox Jews collected for annual Lag B’Omer celebrations in Mount Meron.
The exact cause of the stampede is unclear, but footage on social media reveals guys clambering through spaces in sheets of torn corrugated iron.
Regional reports declare the stands collapsed, however witnesses state individuals fell as they attempted to leave the primary celebration via a narrow path.
Early on Friday early morning, authorities from 2 ambulance services stated 44 individuals were confirmed dead.
Magen David Adom stated it was treating 103 clients, 38 of which are in a critical condition.
Please utilize Chrome browser for a more accessible video gamer Lots of ambulances at stampede
What do witnesses state?
Yoni Yagodozsky, of the Israeli ambulance service, informed Sky News: “In the beginning, there was issue that one of the construction sets integrated in the location had actually collapsed.
” While people were on the way down from the main ceremony, the course was narrow, and as people walked down they tripped over.
” Those behind them strolled on them, which’s what developed this dreadful, dreadful occurrence.”
He included that mobile extensive care units and helicopters were used to transport the most seriously injured to medical facility.
A 24-year-old witness who offered his first name as Dvir stated “masses of people were pushed into the exact same corner and a vortex was created”.
He told Army Radio station that he saw one row of people fall, followed by a second row, where he was standing.
” I felt like I was about to pass away,” he said.
Zaki Heller, a Magen David Adom rescue service representative, said it happened very quickly.
” In one moment, we went from a delighted occasion to an immense disaster.”
A paramedic on the scene included that he had actually never ever seen anything like it.
He described it as a “mass casualty incident”, stating: “I see here 10s of individuals laying on the flooring, tens of hurt, walking and bleeding, really challenging sights.”
What is the Lag B’Omer festival?
Lag B’Omer is a yearly Jewish festival that happens throughout the Hebrew month of Iyar.
Tens of countless ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrims travel to Mount Meron each year to honour Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai – a second century sage and mystic – believed to be buried there.
Big crowds sing, dance and light bonfires as part of the events.
The event was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was enabled to occur this year following the success of Israel’s vaccination program and the lifting of a lot of limitations.
However officials still warned of the danger of a COVID break out ahead of the occasion and have actually revealed their shock at the numbers that attended.
( 1/2) MDA Representative: at 00:50 a report was received at the MDA 101 Emergency Call center for bleachers which nun collapsed at Har Meron. MDA Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics are on scene treating 10s of injured including those who are in vital condition. An update will follow as needed pic.twitter.com/OmU3KCzhha– Magen David Adom April 29, 2021
What have authorities said?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the tragedy as a “heavy disaster”, including: “We are all praying for the health and wellbeing of the casualties.”
Prior to the event, public security minister Amir Ohana and authorities chief Yaakov Shabtai consulted with cops to monitor celebrations – the first to happen legally considering that lockdown was lifted.
They stated 5,000 extra officers had been released to maintain order.
Mr Ohana, a close ally of Mr Netanyahu, thanked the authorities for “protecting the wellness and security for the numerous individuals”.