IDF soldier drowns in stream during exercise following heavy rains

Three teams are to examine different aspects of what went wrong in the IDF navigational training exercise.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Evyatar Yosefi has been identified as the soldier killed during a navigational training exercise in northern Israel early Monday morning, an army official said. The IDF had initially censored the fact that the young man had died and that he was a soldier. The military says it has launched three investigations into the drowning death of the paratrooper.

The 20-year-old resident of Givat Shmuel, near Tel Aviv, was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Yosefi was said to have been knocked down when a flash flood hit the Nahal Hilazon creek south of Karmiel in the Galilee overnight.

Following the incident, the commander of the ground forces, Maj. Gen. Kobi Barak, ordered that all IDF navigational exercises be stopped.

During the course of the training, two other soldiers were injured. They were evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa suffering from hypothermia.

The soldier’s unit had been hiking around the Hilazon stream this week, working in pairs to learn how to navigate and survive in the wilderness. Before dawn on Monday, the paratrooper and his comrade received the order over the radio that the unit was regrouping. As they made their way to the designated spot, the pair came to the stream, which was swollen from the previous night’s rainfall.

The initial investigation indicated that Yosefi tried in the darkness to cross the stream with his friend, but stumbled and drifted away, shouting: “I am sliding!”

His partner threw him a rope, but the paratrooper couldn’t hold on and was swept away. About two hours later, he was found about 100 meters from where he fell.

Located by search and rescue teams Monday morning and listed in critical condition, Yosefi was pronounced dead en route to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Arutz-7 reported.