Boy, 14, dies of heatstroke as record-breaking heatwave enters 2nd week

Over 700 people treated by emergency services due to blistering heat; weather to cool Friday

Israelis enjoy the hot weather at the beach in Tel Aviv, September 5, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Israelis enjoy the hot weather at the beach in Tel Aviv, September 5, 2020. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

A teenage boy in Jerusalem died of heatstroke on Sunday, as Israel braced itself for another week of searing temperatures after experiencing the hottest days on record.

The heatwave, now on its eighth day, has seen over 700 people seek the help of emergency services and has caused multiple life-threatening incidents.

On Sunday morning a 14-year-old boy in Jerusalem was rushed to the hospital after collapsing while engaging in physical activity. Hebrew-language media reported that Magen David Adom medics who arrived on the scene “saw the boy lying on the grass unconscious, with no pulse and no breathing … and evacuated him to the hospital in critical condition while continuing to perform CPR.”

The boy, who apparently lost consciousness while playing soccer, was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Jerusalem recorded its highest ever temperature Friday, setting a new record of 42.8°C (109°F). The current heatwave has been unprecedented for Jerusalem, which usually enjoys slightly cooler weather than the rest of the country thanks to its location and relatively high altitude at some 800 meters (2,600 feet) above sea level.

The record-breaking heat also led to the death of Ariel Yoav Tzafrir, a 19-year-old soldier from the West Bank settlement of Barkan, who collapsed during an illegal party at the Pura Nature Reserve in the southern part of the country on Friday.

Illustrative: First responders in northern Israel, June 9, 2019. (MDA)

Tzafrir was rushed in critical condition to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where doctors pronounced his death shortly thereafter. Alcohol and drugs were found in his system and medics believe the combination of those substances, along with the extreme heat, caused his death.

In light of the heat, the authorities slightly eased a COVID-19 restriction: The government’s coronavirus czar Ronni Gamzu told Channel 12 that while there would be no change to policies regarding mask-wearing, those who find themselves alone at a park or beach would be allowed to remove their mask.

Illustrative: Heatwave. (Istock Images)

At least three people were hospitalized in critical condition due to heatstroke, including a woman in the southern town of Eilat and a man in the northern town of Kiryat Shemona, both of whom were found unconscious on the street.

Temperatures are only expected to go down this Friday.

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