Seven people were killed this evening when a train crashed into a minibus near Kibbutz Gat, which is located north of Kiryat Gat. Magen David Adom reported that another person was seriously injured in the collision, and three others sustained light wounds. Military choppers are evacuating the wounded to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
The train’s front cabin that was involved in the crash was overturned, and the minibus it hit was completely crushed. Magen David Adom Spokesperson Maxim Nizri said that the train continued to coast for 20 to 30 meters (yards) after the initial hit.
Magen David Adom said reports of the accident, which took place on road 353 in the south, were received at 7:15 pm. Large police and emergency services forces were alerted to the scene, and the cause of the crash was initially unclear.
Israel Railways Director-General Yitzhak Harel told Kol Israel Radio that an initial investigation has revealed that the minibus broke through the electric blockade at a railway crossing and that the train’s conductor, driving a train packed with passengers, activated the emergency brake, but was unable to stop the train in time.
“He just arrived at a high speed. I don’t know why. All the warning systems worked,” said Harel.
Eldad, who was on the train, told Ynet, “We felt like we ran over a pit, a small collision. At first, there was no ruckus until the helicopters arrived and people started to panic. A military helicopter landed in order to load injured people and a convoy of ambulances arrived on the site.”
Avital Avramzon, who was also on the train, said that the train made a sudden stop at 7:05 pm. “There was a kind of weak sound of a collision. Ever since, the train has been standing still, and we are all waiting inside, gathered by the windows.”
Southern District Police Chief Yohanan Danino arrived at the scene, and Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen is on his way to the site.