Thousands attended the joint funeral on Thursday of teen sisters from Ashkelon who were killed in a car crash which police suspect was caused by the driver speeding while under the influence of alcohol.
Tahel Maul, 16, and her older sister Yarin, 19, were buried at the southern port city’s Giv’at Zion cemetery where they were eulogized by Ashkelon’s Mayor Tomer Glam.
“We are heartbroken and refuse to believe that we stand here today to bury two girls from the city, Yarin and Tahel,” Glam said, according to Walla news. “Two sisters, inseparable in life and death. Two sisters who went out to have fun and never returned. Smiles of joy and laughter that will never be seen or heard again.”
The teens were killed in the early hours of Thursday and a third sister was fighting for her life after the accident. Tahel was declared dead at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics. The two other siblings and the driver were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in the city, where the older sister, Yarin, was declared dead despite efforts to save her life.
The 3 a.m. smash happened when the driver, 22, lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree on a traffic island. So powerful was the force of the collision that the car’s engine was thrown out and scattered down the street.
The third sister, 14-year-old Adele Maul, was flown to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for further treatment after doctors stabilized her condition.
Her life was still in danger according to Hebrew-language media reports.
The driver, who was moderately injured in the accident, was apparently Yarin’s boyfriend. An initial investigation reportedly found that he was speeding at the time, and police suspect he may also have been drunk. Another suspicion is that the passengers did not have their seat belts fastened.
According to Channel 13 news, it is thought that Yarin went to collect her boyfriend, with her sisters in the car, from an event outside Ashkelon, at which point he took over as driver of the vehicle.
“They were very close with one another,” said Liav Vaknin, a friend of Tahel, who was to celebrate her 17th birthday on September 9. “Sometimes they would fight a bit, then make up. They liked hanging around together, and then this happened.”
The sisters’ aunt told Channel 13 news that the teens were “adorable and charming,” telling Channel 12 that Tahel was “a beautiful and smart girl. She always helped everyone and was the first to offer help.”
Stuart Winer contributed to this report.