Prosecutors Close Negligence Case in Tel Aviv Couple's Death in Flooded Elevator

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Stav Harari and Dean Shoshani who died last year after becoming trapped in a flooded elevator in Tel Aviv.
Stav Harari and Dean Shoshani who died last year after becoming trapped in a flooded elevator in Tel Aviv.

Prosecutors closed their investigation into the deaths last year of a young couple who drowned in a flooded elevator in their Tel Aviv apartment building last year.

“No person, or organization or authority was found to which negligence that led to their deaths could be attributed,” the state prosecution said in a statement Wednesday.

Dean Yaakov Shoshani and Stav Harari, both 25, died in January 2020 after becoming trapped in the elevator in the building’s parking garage.

The statement said that experts could find no faults or failures in the building, its parking garage, the elevator company or the rescue services.

The elevator where the couple drowned to death. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The latter, in particular, were overwhelmed by massive rainfall on the day of the disaster.

According to the prosecutors’ statement, rescue services had prepared for about 50 millimeters of rain in Tel Aviv on the day of the disaster, in keeping with the weather forecasts they had received.

But in fact, about 100 millimeters of rain were measured per hour during the middle of the day. As a result, “the call centers of the safety and rescue services received thousands of calls.

While Shoshani and Harari were trapped in the elevator at the parking garage, presumably due to a short circuit, water began seeping into it.

A neighbor who was passing by heard Shoshani and Harari banging on the elevator door from inside and together with other neighbors tried to get the rescue services to come.

It took hours, however, for rescuers to come and get them out of the elevator. They were suffering from severe hypothermia and both were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Residents said they had called police about trapped people and flooding in the parking lot but waited a long time without assistance. Tenants said they tried dozens of times to call the hotlines. It took about 25 minutes before a neighbor managed to contact the Magen David Adom emergency services, which informed the fire and rescue service.

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