Ukrainian teen flees to Israel, drowns at Acre beach

The 16-year-old refugee couldn’t be revived after disappearing from his friends.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Ukrainian teen who fled the invasion of his country and came to Israel met his death two months later off the Acre coast Sunday.

Sixteen-year-old Glib Shostak disappeared while with a group of friends who had come to have some evening fun at the city’s Argaman Beach. When the friends noticed he was missing, they began a search that ended when they found him unconscious in the water.

Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency services raced to the scene, but could not save the teen.

“We tried using revival techniques including medication and electric shocks but after prolonged efforts we were forced to declare his death,” said MDA paramedic Amos Dadon.

His mother was with him while the paramedics fought for her son’s life.

Shostak had come to Israel with his mother and 13-year-old sister specifically before he turned 16. From that age, boys are not allowed to leave Ukraine since they are eligible to be drafted to fight the Russian invasion, explained Orit Assayag, head of Acre’s department of education.

“They fled Kyiv after their house was bombed,” Assayag said.

“They came, they were absorbed in the best way, with a large support system. Glib was a sweet boy, a very good student who became friendly with the other boys his age. Tonight about ten of them went to the beach, all of them immigrants – some veterans, some who had just recently arrived. It’s a terrible tragedy.”

Shostak went to the local ORT Biran High School.

“They fled the fighting and managed to acclimate in Acre, in the school and in general,” Principal Iris Goldenberg told Walla News. “He was a terrific boy, very smart… It didn’t seem that what he saw of the war left any scars.”

“He and his friends got to the beach after 5:00 p.m. [so] there was no lifeguard,” she added. “They went into the water. He didn’t know how to swim… Seemingly the undertow swept him away.”

The school has taken in six Ukrainian students in the last few months, and they were a tight-knit group, Goldenberg said, “finding comfort in each other.” The students who were on the scene when their friend died “are taking the incident very hard.”

On Monday, despite the summer vacation, the school opened its doors to students and their parents so they could meet with social workers and psychological support staff.