Authorities yesterday announced they had identified the body of Ofer Mizrahi, 23, who was killed in last week's earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Prime Minister's Office informed the family yesterday morning that Mizrahi's body had been identified. The Foreign Ministry is assisting with travel arrangements.
Officials at Kibbutz Magal, Mizrahi's home, said yesterday they did not know when the body will arrive in Israel.
Mizrahi left Israel two and a half months ago to travel through Australia with a close friend from the kibbutz, Guy Yurdan. A week and a half ago, the pair were joined by two more childhood friends: Michal Friedman, also of Magal, and Liron Sadeh of Moshav Gan Yoshiya.
The three survivors returned to Israel from New Zealand a few days ago. Yurdan said they and Mizrahi were eating in their van when the quake struck.
"The van started to shake. We didn't understand what was going on. Ofer came to his senses first and said it was an earthquake and we had to get out of the van right away," Yurdan related.
"As we started to get out of the van, a huge, heavy chunk of concrete fell on us. Ofer was in the driver's seat and I was sitting next to him.
"I saw that the women had gotten out and then I looked at Ofer and saw that he was hit. I grabbed him and saw that he had head wounds. I realized that he was killed instantly."
Yurdan said that when the ground stopped shaking he broke a window in the car, got out and called for help, but authorities made him leave the area because a nearby building was in danger of collapse.
Mizrahi was the fourth out of five siblings. The Secretary of Kibbutz Magal, Semadar Katz, said he was friendly and active in the kibbutz. He had been a member of the kibbutz scout troop and had volunteered in its petting zoo in order to prevent its closure.
After completing his military service in the Nahal Brigade, Mizrahi worked at Netafim, the kibbutz irrigation systems factory.
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