Tragedy in Ramat Eshkol: Child of American Family in Yerushalayim Dies, Yungerman in Serious Condition


zakaFirst report, updated: The community of Ramat Eshkol was shocked to learn that a local three-year-old girl, Rochel Sofer a”h, was killed today after falling into a manhole. Rochel, who was reportedly being watched by a babysitter, passed away, it is believed,  after inhaling toxic gas emitted from the manhole. A yungerman who passed by heard the girl’s mother screaming and saw that the girl had fallen into a manhole. He extricated her, but then he himself fell in and felt burning sensations on his skin. Gershon Klatzkin of Zaka arrived first at the scene and began doing CPR on Rochel, who was found unconscious.

Fire crews arrived with special gas masks and were able to extract the yungerman from the hole. The 42-year-old yungerman passed out and was taken in serious condition to Hadassah Ein Kerem. Reb Bentzion Oiring and other Zaka volunteers  arrived at the scene.

Attempts to resuscitate Rochel were unsuccessful and a doctor who arrived at the site pronounced her dead. The mother of the girl stood by, quietly davening, until the awful besurah was related to her.

Neighbors say that the hole has been opened for weeks and was not taken care of by the municipality, despite complaints from the residents about the danger it presented.

The family has four other children, including a two-week-old baby.

The levaya will take place at 9:30 p.m. on Shamgar, with kevurah on Har Hamenuchos.

May we know of no further tzaar.

{Yair Israel}


  1. again the govt doesnt care about the frum they complained about it for weeks and nothing happened now they will close it up after they got what they wanted one less chareidi GO RIOT WE WILL NOT BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF!! LET THEM KNOW

  2. To matzav:Im sure that the zaka member mentioned above was there helping at the scene but i must inform u that he was not the first one there as i came with three other members of tzevet eshkol hatzoloh team when a short time later everyone followed.

  3. From the Jerusalem Post:

    Girl dies falling into J’lem ‘gas pit’

    Jul. 22, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
    A three-year-old girl was killed Wednesday when she fell into a three-meter pit containing toxic gases in a public Jerusalem park, and a passerby was critically injured trying to rescue her.

    It was unclear how the girl fell into the pit in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood, or whether it was covered, but she apparently died after inhaling the poisonous emissions.

    The man climbed into the pit unaware that he was inhaling toxic substances.

    Rescue services were called to the scene and managed to pull the two out. Paramedics pronounced the girl dead after resuscitation efforts failed. The man was evacuated to the capital’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

    ZAKA volunteer Gershon Klatzkin, who assisted in the resuscitation efforts, said the pit that the two had fallen into was “not very deep, but it apparently contained some kind of poisonous gas.”

    He said that the man entered the pit in order to pull out the girl but could not get out due to the effects of the gas.

    “By the time we arrived the two were already unconscious and the medical teams performed CPR on them,” Klatzkin said. “It was a difficult sight to see both of them unconscious; the girl’s mother is alarmed, she still doesn’t know what’s going on.”

    Police launched an investigation of the incident.

    The Jerusalem Municipality said that it considered the incident “very serious,” adding that it too would launch an investigation. “The municipality is distressed over the tragedy in which the girl fell into the pit and sends condolences to the family,” a statement read.

    Social workers were sent to the family by the Municipality. Furthermore, the Municipality said that no complaints had been filed over the pit, and speculated that it was the result of vandalism.

  4. Our hearts go out to the wonderful parents and family of Rochel Sofer. The whole community of Ramat Eshkol shares their pain. May they be comforted B’soch Sha’ar Avlay Tzion B’Yerushalayim and may we only hear of Simchos.

  5. Rochel Sofer was a granddaughter of Louis Friedman who used to own Gelbstein’s Bakery on Clifton Avenue in LAKEWOOD.