2 arrested following death of 10 teens hit by flash floods on school trip

Two staff members of a pre-army academy were arrested and another is under house arrest following the death of 10 students who died on a school trip during a flash flood.

By: World Israel News Staff

Police arrested Yuval Kahan, principal of the Bnei Zion pre-military academy in Tel Aviv, and 27-year-old Aviv Bredichev, one of the group’s guides, Thursday night on suspicion of negligent homicide in the death of 10 students during a field trip. A third staff member was questioned and released to house arrest.

A group of 25 students was hiking at the Tsafit stream in the Arava valley, near the Dead Sea when the area was hit by massive flooding.

The 10 victims were identified Friday as Shani Shamir from the central city of Shoham; Ella Or from Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem; Maayan Barhum and Yael Sadan from Jerusalem; Tzur Alfi, from the central town of Mazkeret Batya; Agam Levy from the central Israeli town of Herut; Romi Cohen of Maor, near Hadera; Gali Balali from the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim; Adi Raanan of the northern Israeli moshav of Mikhmoret, and Ilan Bar Shalom of Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv.

Alfi was the only boy. All were 18 years of age.

“Israel today mourns the promising lives that were cut short in the massive tragedy in the Arava. We painfully embrace the grief-stricken families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted.

Police questioned why the trip was not canceled, despite the hazardous weather conditions.

“The group of youths went on a trip to Nahal Tzafit despite our repeated warnings not to travel in the southern valleys. It’s a terrible tragedy and it’s easy to avoid such disasters. All you have to do is listen to instructions,” Israel Police spokeswoman Meirav Lapidot stated.

The Education Ministry says it was not informed about the planned trip and would not have granted permission.

‘We’re going to die’

In fact, some students were apprehensive about the trip. “It makes no sense for us to go out [hiking] in a place that is totally flooded. It’s like tempting fate. Seriously, we’re going to die,” one student texted her friend, Channel 2 reported.

“Don’t worry. We’re well-prepared for the trip and will coordinate with the appropriate bodies. It will be a wet and fun experience,” the school administration told concerned teens, the report said.