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Two dead, one in critical condition after fall into 26-foot pit

One Israeli firefighter died and another was critically injured during a failed attempt to rescue a Palestinian man in Deir al-Asad in northern Israel.

Police and rescue personnel in Deir El Asad in northern Israel on Aug. 13, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Police and rescue personnel in Deir El Asad in northern Israel on Aug. 13, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.

One Israeli firefighter was killed and another critically injured on Sunday while attempting to save the life of a Palestinian man who had fallen into a deep pit in the Galilee.

On Sunday afternoon, the Israel Fire and Rescue Department answered a rescue call after a 20-year-old man, later identified by police as a Palestinian worker who had entered the country illegally, fell into a 26-foot-deep hole in the town of Deir al-Asad and lost consciousness.

Teams from the Karmiel fire station’s special rescue unit quickly arrived on the scene and began the rescue operation. However, the two firefighters that descended into the pit also quickly lost consciousness, apparently due to lack of oxygen or the presence of poisonous fumes. Other members of the rescue team eventually extracted all three men, who were evacuated to hospital in Nahariya.

The Palestinian man and one of the firefighters succumbed to their injuries, while doctors continued to fight for the life of the second firefighter, who was in critical condition.

Sergeant Adnan Asad, a member of Israel’s Druze community from the village of Beit Jann in northern Israel, was 40 years old at the time of his death. He leaves behind a wife and three children, the youngest of whom is only two months old. He had served as a firefighter in the formation since 2019.

Israel’s National Fire and Rescue Authority commissioner has established a team, to be led by himself, to investigate the circumstances of the tragic incident.

The National Fire and Rescue Authority said in a statement that it “bows its head at the fall of a warrior and shares in the grief of his family.”

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