Two Israeli women are dead after a tourist bus drove off a mountainside in Nepal, according to the local Chabad House in Kathmandu. The two were later named as Shira Dabush, a 30-year-old physician, and Omer Shemesh, 22.
According to Israeli and local media reports, between three and six more Israelis were wounded in the crash on Friday morning, which claimed at least 11 lives and left at least 48 wounded, most of them tourists.
An Israeli travel agency confirmed that four Israelis had purchased tickets for the bus ride northward from the capital of Kathmandu to the mountainous Langtang National Park. It was not immediately clear if the other two Israelis were on the bus, or how many Israelis had bought tickets through other agencies.
The bus drove off a mountainside road some 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Kathmandu and fell 50 meters (160 feet) down the mountainside, Israeli media reports say. One Nepalese report in the Himalayan Times said the bus fell 200 meters (650 feet).
Israeli Embassy officials and the local Chabad emissary arrived at the site of the crash Friday morning Israel time, according to local and Israeli media reports, while Israel’s ambassador to the Himalayan nation, Yaron Mayer, is at a Kathmandu hospital visiting and searching for Israeli victims of the crash.
The incident marks the second dramatic accident in two weeks involving Israelis in Nepal. Last week, four Israeli climbers were killed when a blizzard and avalanches swept the mountains of the Annapurna region in the country’s north. The avalanches resulted in 43 dead — 21 foreigners and 22 Nepalese guides, porters and villagers — and led to the largest-ever rescue operation in the country’s history, which saw the Nepalese military evacuate 518 stranded trekkers, including 310 foreigners, before the operation was completed on Monday.
According to the Walla news site, Israeli travel agencies report that the two Israelis killed in Friday’s crash had planned to travel to the Annapurna region, but changed their plans after the deadly avalanches.