Body of missing hiker found in Dead Sea

Shai Yaakov Noam, 31, disappeared Friday near Ein Gedi, as flash floods swept the area

Shai Yaakov Noam (photo credit: Courtesy Israel Police)
Shai Yaakov Noam (photo credit: Courtesy Israel Police)

Police on Tuesday said they located the body of a hiker missing since Friday in the Dead Sea.

Shai Yaakov Noam, 31, disappeared Friday morning, and was believed to have been trekking in the southern Ein Gedi area, near the Dead Sea, as a winter storm walloped the country, bringing heavy rains and flash floods.

A police helicopter on Tuesday located a body in the water, believed to be that of Noam. The body was transferred for identification.

Rescue teams were sent out in force to search for Noam after police found his car in a parking lot near the Arugot stream trail on Friday. On Monday, police said they located his jacket and car keys, which did not appear to be wet.

Weather conditions throughout the country were treacherous last week and over the weekend, with heavy snowfall in the north and mountainous regions since Thursday evening, and torrential rain elsewhere.

Melting snow flowing down to the south caused flash floods that filled desert streams.

The Ein Gedi area, renowned for its cliffs, streams and waterfalls, overflowed with water during the weekend. Such desert floods are known for their beauty, but are also notoriously dangerous as water levels can rise rapidly, catching hikers in the swell. They have often proved to be a deadly attraction for nature enthusiasts.

Noam left his residence in Rehovot on Thursday afternoon and was last seen at 5:30 a.m. Friday at a local hostel. According to Channel 2, Noam tried to contact his family at around 7:30 a.m. but failed.

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