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Six Palestinian family members drown in West Bank cesspit accident

Initial information indicates the victims were working on a new pit when it suddenly flooded

Attempts to rescue six Palestininans who fell into a cesspit in a southern West Bank village, September 26, 2020 (video screenshot)
Attempts to rescue six Palestininans who fell into a cesspit in a southern West Bank village, September 26, 2020 (video screenshot)

Six Palestinians died Saturday after they drowned in a cesspit in a West Bank village west of Hebron, Palestinian media reported.

Israel’s Army Radio reported that all were members of one family, with three of the dead being brothers.

According to official Palestinian Authority new agency Ma’an, Magen David Adom rushed one of victims, aged 15, to an Israeli hospital, but doctors were unable to save his life.

Palestinian media reports said the cause of the drowning in Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa was not yet clear, but it may have been caused by work on the pit leading to a sudden flooding.

Islam Abu Sheikha, an official in the Hebron Governorate’s Civil Defense, said: “We received a distress signal about a number of citizens falling into a cesspit. Immediately, civil defense teams moved to the scene, and worked to pull them out from inside the pit.”

Col. Yazan Yusef Omar, Director of Civil Defense in the Hebron Governorate, said: “It is too early to talk about the causes of the accident.”

But “according to a preliminary information, and it may be inaccurate, while a number of people dug a siphon hole next to a full pit, and as a result of drilling work, wastewater leaked from the old pit into the new pit; and a person who was inside the new pit drowned.”

The others “apparently tried to save him, but failed” and drowned themselves.

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