The disaster in Meron on the Jewish holiday of Lag b’Omer was set off when a man in the front row lost consciousness and collapsed, witnesses told Israel’s Channel 13.
By Adina Katz, World Israel News
According to new testimony that reached Channel 13 News on Sunday regarding the tragedy Thursday night on Mount Meron, the root cause of the disaster was a heart attack suffered by one worshipper in the front row who lost consciousness and collapsed.
The situation spiraled out control when he fell, causing others in the packed crowd to fall as well, Israel’s Channel 13 reported.
An estimated 100,000 people attended the traditional Lag b’Omer festivities in the northern Israeli town.
Forty-five people lost their lives in the tragic event and more than 100 were wounded. Some remain in critical condition.
According to the witnesses who spoke to the Hebrew-language news site Sunday, when the masses began to fall, no policemen or others on duty blocked them.
Only when they feared for the safety of the man who had the heart attack – who was treated by paramedics on the spot – did they begin to work on controlling the situation, the witnesses said.
According to some media reports, a building collapsed that was built to hold 3,000 people but had 20,000 at the time.
Israelis are demanding an investigation as to who among the top decision-makers and planners was responsible for allowing the mass gathering to take place, despite repeated warnings over the years about safety lapses.