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Avalanche of rocks near Dead Sea in Israel kills 5-year-old boy and traps many others

An avalanche of rocks tumbled down a hillside onto a hiking trail near the Dead Sea in Israel on Thursday, trapping many people, killing a 5-year-old boy and injuring at least six others, medics said.

The volunteer emergency medical service United Hatzalah said rescue teams recovered numerous people who were trapped under the rubble. Israeli military helicopters airlifted the victims to nearby hospitals.

Israel's Magen David Adom rescue service said the victims ranged from 4 to 40 years old, including the boy who was found unconscious with a severe stomach injury and could not be resuscitated. A 4-year-old girl was in moderate condition and others were less seriously injured.

"You could see rocks the size of cars falling down," Yonatan Bar David, who was on the trail with his family, told Kan Radio, Reuters reported. He was not injured but two of his children suffered minor injuries, according to the news agency.  

Medics said the situation was worsened by the fact that the site of the landslide was difficult to reach. Magen David Adom said rescuers had to park their ambulances by the river and carry medical equipment by foot to the scene of the incident, due to the complexity of the terrain. Rescuers walked for about 25 minutes before discovering a number of injured people. 

Israel Rockslide
A warning sign at a waterfall near the site of a rockslide that took place in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, on the western shore of the Dead Sea, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. Ohad Zwigenberg / AP

The rockslide took place in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve on the western shore of the Dead Sea, a popular tourist site.

It was not immediately clear what caused the rockslide. They typically occur when torrential rains or earthquakes create fissures in a rocky hillside.

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