Worker injured in Eurovision venue accident dies

Fuldi Schwartz, 66, was unloading equipment at Expo Tel Aviv when a wheeled lighting rig toppled over onto him

Fuldi Schwartz (right), 66 (screen capture: Channel 12)
Fuldi Schwartz (right), 66 (screen capture: Channel 12)

An Israeli man injured on Monday when a lighting rig fell on him during preparations for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest at the Expo Tel Aviv fairgrounds has died, hospital officials said Wednesday.

Fuldi Schwartz, 66, was unloading equipment from a truck in a parking lot adjacent to the fairgrounds when a wheeled lighting rig toppled over onto him, causing serious head injuries, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a spinal injury, according to the family.

He was rushed to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital for emergency brain surgery.

Schwartz’s condition deteriorated late Tuesday, and doctors pronounced him dead at 1 a.m. Wednesday, Ichilov said in a statement.

Schwartz, from the central town of Pardes Hanna, was survived by his wife Dalia and children Erez and May.

Fuldi Schwartz, a truck driver who was killed when a lighting rig fell on him during preparations for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv (courtesy)

Erez questioned the safety precautions at the site.

“We don’t blame anyone at this point, but how is it possible that at an event as large as Eurovision, with so much money invested, so much supervision and security, something so terrible can still happen?” he asked in comments carried by the Ynet news site.

Police and officials from the Welfare Ministry’s Safety and Workplace Health Department arrived at the scene on Monday and launched a formal investigation.

Initial findings revealed that the lighting rig was not handled according to safety regulations.

Eurovision organizers offered their condolences to Schwartz’s family.

“We are greatly saddened by the death of the driver who was injured this week while unloading a truck with technical equipment in the parking lot of the Eurovision venue in Tel Aviv. Our thoughts and condolences go to his family,” they said in a statement.

“Our priority is always for the safety and security of everyone involved with the Eurovision Song Contest and, in line with protocol, we are cooperating with the authorities.” they said.

Workers prepare the stage ahead of the opening of the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, on April 15, 2019. (Flash90)

The song contest began with its first semifinal round on Tuesday. The second round is slated for Thursday, followed by the finals on Saturday evening.

According to the Walla news site, Schwartz is the 29th person killed at a job site in Israel since the start of 2019. Seventy people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018, compared to 52 who lost their lives in 2017, say activists who run the Hebrew Facebook page “Battling against work accident deaths.”

In 2012, Lt. Hila Betzaleli, a 20-year-old IDF officer from Mevasseret Zion, was crushed to death when a lighting rig crashed down on her and other soldiers as they rehearsed for the official state Independence Day ceremony in the central parade ground on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Seven other soldiers were injured in the incident.

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