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Body of Israeli backpacker missing in Mexico found in river

Search and rescue teams locate Yanai Rimon, 25, four days after he apparently slipped while trying to cross body of water in Chiapas highlands, near Guatemala border

Israeli backpacker Yanai Rimon (Courtesy)
Israeli backpacker Yanai Rimon (Courtesy)

After four days of searches, the body of an Israeli backpacker who was declared missing after he was swept into a river earlier this week while traveling in Mexico, was found Saturday.

According to Hebrew-language media reports, Sderot resident Yanai Rimon, 25, was on a post-army trip with friends after completing service in a special forces unit.

The Foreign Ministry said rescue services — both locals and private Israeli teams — were searching for Rimon after he was pulled into a waterfall on Wednesday afternoon near Siltepec, in the Chiapas highlands close to the Guatemala border.

On Saturday, his body was pulled from the water near the Mexico-Guatemala border, according to reports.

Rimon’s friends told Hebrew-language media he fell from a height of five meters (16 feet) into the coursing river and was subsequently sucked into the waterfall.

“They went, seven guys, and there was a point where they needed to cross the river — and at that point, he slipped,” Benny Markovich, a friend traveling with Rimon, told the Ynet news site. “He slipped and fell and was swept into a strong current and then into the waterfall.”

“Yanai, a child of light, brought up and educated in Sderot and loved with all his heart the people of his city. He saw others at eye level and acted constantly for the common good,” his family said in a statement following his death, according to Hebrew-language reports.

They also thanked his friends, Mexico’s Jewish community, and local rescue services for assisting in the search.

Rimon’s body was being flown to Mexico City on Saturday evening, to then be transferred to Israel for burial, according to Channel 12 news.

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