One man was killed, two were injured, and at least eight others were briefly trapped after a tunnel collapsed at an underground electric plant construction site near the northern city of Beit She’an.
The tunnel at the Ma’ale Gilboa Power Station collapsed after an above-ground crane fell onto it, according to an initial probe by police.
The dead and wounded were not immediately identified by authorities.
This is the third deadly tunnel collapse accident at the site since 2015. A worker was killed in May 2015, then again in May 2016, during construction work at the location.
Friday’s collapse trapped eight workers in a section of the tunnel some 50 meters (164 feet) below ground. Rescuers used the site’s elevator into the tunnel to pull them out.
The two wounded workers, both in their 30s, were flown by helicopter to Haemek Hospital in Afula.
The Magen David Adom rescue service deployed ambulances, mobile ICU units and a helicopter to assist in the rescue work.
The workers were constructing an underground pumped-storage hydroelectricity facility at the site on Mount Gilboa. The plant works by pumping water up a system of pipes from a low reservoir to one at the top of the mountain during hours when electricity use is low, then letting the water spill down in an underground waterfall onto a massive turbine during peak hours, generating extra electricity for the nation’s electrical grid.
Police have launched an investigation into the accident, in collaboration with workplace accident investigators from the Ministry of Labor and Welfare.