4 Israelis still hospitalized in serious condition in South Korea after bus crash

Woman killed in accident named as Margarita Schwartzberg, 60, of Hadera; local Chabad rabbi says he is providing assistance ‘around the clock’

A TV screen shows an image of an overturned tour bus during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, April 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A TV screen shows an image of an overturned tour bus during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, April 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Four Israelis hurt in a tour group bus crash in South Korea on Thursday — in which one Israeli was killed — were still hospitalized in serious condition as of Friday, as efforts to bring the group back home are ongoing.

According to the Foreign Ministry, of the 33 Israelis injured in the incident, four are in serious condition, nine are in moderate condition and the rest were lightly hurt, with all being treated at nine different hospitals in South Korea.

The ministry said that it and the local embassy are in contact with the entire group and their families, and are working to bring everyone home as soon as possible.

The woman who was killed in the crash was named in Hebrew media reports on Friday as Margarita Schwartzberg, 60, of Hadera.

Rabbi Asher Litzman, the Chabad emissary based in South Korea, told Army Radio on Friday that he and his team are working to assist all those who were wounded.

“We’re helping with what we can around the clock,” he said. “It’s almost Shabbat here, and we’re devoting all of our time to assist.”

The bus carrying 33 Israeli tourists was traveling from the popular historic city of Gyeongju in the southeast to nearby Chungju when it flipped over late Thursday after taking a sharp turn, police said.

“The steep road caused the bus to slide down as it was changing gears, and it appears the driver lost control and hit the nearby trees, which caused it to flip onto its side,” Chungju police told AFP.

Images in local media showed a coach with a broken windscreen lying on its side on a tree-lined road, with debris strewn around it.

A bus with Israeli tourists on board that flipped over on a road in South Korea, April 13, 2023. (Chungbuk Fire Service)

The South Korean driver and tour guide were also injured and taken to hospital, local authorities said.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said it would provide all necessary support to the victims following a request from the Israeli embassy in Seoul.

Israeli Ambassador to South Korea Akiva Tor visited all of the wounded at the hospitals where they are being treated on Thursday and Friday.

In a video message from one of the hospitals, Tor said the wounded are “receiving excellent care” from local medical professionals, and that the embassy and the Foreign Ministry are “working to bring everyone back to Israel in full health as soon as possible.”

AFP contributed to this report.

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