2 dead, 3 hurt in drowning incidents amid heat wave

Body of drowned East Jerusalem man found in Sea of Galilee after 3-day search; Jerusalem sees high of 99° Fahrenheit

People swimming in a pool in Tel Aviv, on May 15, 2016. (Roni Schutzer/Flash90)
People swimming in a pool in Tel Aviv, on May 15, 2016. (Roni Schutzer/Flash90)

Amid a fierce nationwide heat wave, the Magen David Adom rescue service said on Sunday afternoon it had been called to four separate drowning incidents in the day’s morning hours.

According to a statement from the organization, since the start of swimming season in the spring — roughly in April, when beaches get crowded and community pools are opened to the public — MDA has dealt with 62 drownings and near-drownings, including nine deaths. Four people were left in critical condition, four in serious condition, six in moderate and thirty-nine were lightly hurt.

Sunday’s cases included a 70-year-old man who drowned in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, a 60-year-old woman who nearly drowned in the Dead Sea and an 87-year-old woman who nearly drowned at a Tel Aviv beach.

Separately, a three-day search for the body of a missing 24-year-old East Jerusalem man ended Sunday when his body was located some 200 meters from the waterfront at Berniki Beach on the Sea of Galilee. Authorities said the man has been missing since Thursday and is believed to have drowned in the northern lake on Friday.

In the hours since the statement was released, MDA rescuers tended to a 37-year-old man who nearly drowned in a pool at the Menashe Regional Council near Hadera. He was taken to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera in serious condition.

Israelis are flocking to swimming pools and beaches amid a fierce heat wave that has seen temperatures rise above 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) in Jerusalem, 34°C (93°F) in Tel Aviv, 41°C (106°F) in Beersheba and up to 44°C (111°F) in Eilat.

MDA’s rescue teams are on “high alert during the summer months,” the organization’s director Eli Bin said Sunday, calling on the public “to adhere to the instructions of lifeguards at the beaches and the pools, make sure to adhere to safety guidelines at private swimming pools, avoid unnecessary risks and adhere to MDA’s safety instructions so we can enjoy the summer safely.”

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