Israeli hiker falls to death near Jordan’s historic Petra
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Israeli hiker falls to death near Jordan’s historic Petra

Jordanian search and rescue teams trek 5 kilometers to reach body of 23-year-old man in Wadi Rum desert

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Bedoins seen riding camels in tdesert in Jordan, February 8, 2013. (Lucie March/Flash90)
Bedoins seen riding camels in tdesert in Jordan, February 8, 2013. (Lucie March/Flash90)

An Israeli hiker died after falling from a cliff near the popular tourist site of Petra in Jordan, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Following a lengthy rescue operation that involved close cooperation between the Foreign Ministry and Jordanian authorities, the body of the 23-year-old man was brought to a hospital near the Israeli border where it was slated to be transferred to Israel for burial.

Reports were first received Wednesday afternoon that an Israeli man, hiking with three other Israelis, was in very serious condition after having fallen off a cliff in the area of the Arok Stream near the Jordanian village of Rajaf, according to the Foreign Ministry.

“The Israeli embassy in Jordan, as well as Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein, immediately contacted the Jordanian authorities — both the Jordanian Foreign Ministry in Amman and local police — in order to provide assistance and dispatch rescue team,” a Foreign Ministry statement read.

Rajaf is located in the Wadi Rum desert south of Petra and is home to vast red-tinged gorges and cliffs that have become a popular site for hikers from across the world.

Search and rescue teams reached the site close to midnight after a 5-kilometer trek through the Wadi Rum desert, and confirmed the man was dead. His body was then carried by stretcher back to the nearest access point for vehicles, where it was met by Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Eitan Sorkis.

The man’s identity was not released for publication.

After the rescue operation, the body was brought to a hospital near the Israeli-Jordanian border. The Foreign Ministry said it was in contact with the relevant authorities in order to prevent an autopsy being done on the body.

Arrangements are being made to transfer the body to Israel at the earliest possible opportunity, according to the Foreign Ministry, whic said it was in close contact with the man’s family.

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