The State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday announced prosecutors were closing an investigation into the deaths of a young man and woman in a basement elevator during flooding last year amid stormy weather in Tel Aviv.
Officials informed the families of couple Dean Yaakov Shoshani and Stav Harari that they could not point to “a person, body or authority that could be accused of a sufficient level of negligence in a criminal trial,” according to a statement.
Prosecutors said that after reviewing the building plans, elevator company performance and conduct of emergency services operating under stress amid what the mayor called a “once-in-50-years” downpour, they could not find criminal fault in the actions of any of them.
They also noted forecasts for the day Shoshani and Harari died predicted 35 to 50 millimeters of rainfall, but some 100 millimeters fell per hour that afternoon.
“It could not be determined that it was possible to prevent the tragic outcome,” the statement said.
Harari’s father called the ruling “painful” and said the family would appeal.
“This is something is inconceivable, for us there is criminal negligence here… we’re in shock,” Itzik Harari told Channel 12 news.
In the fatal flooding in January 2020, officials said the elevator became stuck, possibly due to a power outage. Residents told Hebrew media they heard banging from the elevator and called police but rescue services took 30 to 60 minutes to arrive. The couple had drowned by then.