American hiker falls to death in Eilat Mountains
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American hiker falls to death in Eilat Mountains

Body of 20-year-old recovered by IDF; family notified

An IDF helicopter assists in recovering the body of US tourist who apparently slipped and fell to his death in a ravine in the Eilat mountains area, March 10, 2019. (Israel Police)
An IDF helicopter assists in recovering the body of US tourist who apparently slipped and fell to his death in a ravine in the Eilat mountains area, March 10, 2019. (Israel Police)

The body of an American tourist was recovered Sunday after he apparently fell to his death near a popular hiking trail in the Eilat Mountains in southern Israel.

Police began searching for the hiker Saturday night, when the 20-year-old man failed to return from his hike to Mount Shlomo.

His body was airlifted from the ravine by the IDF’s 669 search and rescue unit after a several-hour operation, Hebrew media reported.

Police opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death, although no foul play is suspected. The initial indication is that the man slipped and fell down a steep rock face while hiking the trail.

Police said that the man’s family was informed of the tragedy, but did not identify him to the media.

As part of the investigation, the body will be sent to the Abu Kabir Forensic Medicine Institute for positive identification and further examination of the circumstances of the death.

Currently, about 1.4 million Israelis visit Eilat annually and some 300,000 foreign tourists visit the area, mainly from Europe.

Mount Shlomo is located about 11 kilometers northwest of the city. The Negev Trails tourist website describes the challenging hike as “one of the most difficult yet rewarding trails in Israel.”

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