A major road artery was reopened Tuesday morning after rescue services spent hours overnight trying to retrieve the driver of a truck who was killed as a pedestrian bridge spanning Route 4 collapsed onto the cab of his vehicle.
The driver was named on Tuesday morning as Ali Hai Tadri, 58, from Holon. His wife arrived at the scene shortly after the crash and told rescue workers she had been talking with him on the phone when the accident happened, according to Hebrew media reports.
Netivei Israel – National Transport Infrastructure Company said that the bridge over Route 4 was checked five months ago and found to be safe. The company said a partially raised crane on the back of the moving truck hit the concrete pedestrian bridge as the vehicle passed underneath causing the collapse.
Tadri was trapped inside the truck’s cabin for several hours as rescue personnel tried to reach him amid the large slabs of concrete.
He was eventually found lifeless and was pronounced dead on the scene.
Police had closed the highway and some approach roads during the operation to reach Tadri and clear the debris. The road was fully reopened at around 5 a.m.
Paramedics initially said they believed a second person was trapped inside the cabin, but that possibility was ruled out after rescue workers were able to reach the cab.
Magen David Adom first responders said they heard the voice of someone inside the cabin when they first arrived on the scene, but were unable to reach the person.
The Elhanan bridge, a pedestrian walkway linking the Tel Aviv suburb towns of Bnei Brak and Givat Shmuel, appeared to be empty at the time of its collapse.
An initial investigation revealed that the truck had a mounted crane and part of it was apparently open while the vehicle was traveling on Route 4 near Tel Aviv. When the crane slammed into the bridge, it immediately buckled onto the truck. The entire south-facing side of the six-lane highway was blocked by a huge segment of the bridge that fell on the road.
Soon after arriving, the paramedics were removed from the site by fire department officials worried that the truck could give way under the weight of the bridge and cause additional segments to collapse. They were later allowed to return.
In a similar 2013 incident, a truck driver was trapped and killed in his vehicle after he hit a pedestrian bridge in Kfar Saba.