accident - Gil Eliyahu - 04092011
The scene of Friday’s accident near Afula, in which three people died. Photo by Gil Eliyahu
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Three members of a single family were killed Friday morning on Route 65, on a stretch of highway between Afula and the Nahal Tsalmon junction that has been the scene of many fatal accidents in recent years.

The victims of Friday's crash in the Galilee were residents of the village of Shibli, on the slopes of Mount Tabor, and had been on their way home from harvesting mangoes in the Golan Heights at the time of the accident. Their vehicle collided with an oncoming car.

In addition to the three family members, who were killed on the spot, a fourth passenger in the car was seriously injured. One occupant of the other car was also seriously hurt and two others lightly injured. One of the injured was taken by helicopter to Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, while the others were taken by ambulance to Poriya Hospital, Tiberias.

It is not clear at the stage which driver was at fault in the accident. An initial accident investigation found no mechanical failure from either car or any specific road conditions at that spot that would have caused the accident. The highway, however, has heavy traffic and is one lane in each direction. The road does not have a center guardrail. About three weeks ago near the site of Friday's crash, a 60-year-old man and his 30-year-old son, both from Nazareth, died in another accident.

Haaretz analysis has revealed that, in the past seven years, 46 people have been killed in 34 accidents on the 33 kilometer stretch of highway between Afula and the Tsalmon junction, mostly in head-on collisions.

The leader of the Lower Galilee regional council, Motti Dotan, acknowledged the dangerous nature of the highway and called on the state to address the problem. He also criticized the government for giving priority to widening the road from the Golani junction northward but not the southward stretch toward Afula.