Six Dead After Rescuers Pull Out Last Body From Rubble of Tel Aviv Parking Garage

The building collapsed while under construction on Monday, killing and trapping several workers.

Rescue workers attempt to locate the two missing persons in the rubble of the collapsed parking lot in north Tel Aviv, September 9, 2016.
Tomer Appelbaum

Rescue workers pulled the last body from the rubble of a northern Tel Aviv parking garage on Saturday, after finding two more on Friday. The parking garage collapsed while under construction on Monday, killing and trapping several workers.

On Friday morning it was reported that three men were still trapped under the wreckage: Taleb Dawabsheh, a 29-year-old Palestinian father of two from the West Bank village of Duma, Oleg Mishalov, a married father of two from Acre, and Ruslan Iskov, a married father of one, also from Acre.

Three others have been confirmed dead in the incident earlier in the week and were identified as Oleg Yakobov, a Ukrainian citizen named Dennis Dyachenko and a Palestinian named Ahad Marouf al-Hagi al-Rimawi.

For six days, members of the military's Home Front Command, both reserve-duty soldiers and conscripts, searched for the missing. They were joined by civilian rescue teams and a special squad from the army's Oketz canine unit. Some 500 soldiers and officers were at the scene, the IDF's Spokesperson's Unit said. They rescued four individuals and the bodies of an additional six people from the ruins. In a statement, the Magen David Adom rescue service said medical attention was rendered to 23 people who were injured in the collapse of the parking garage.

"Today the rescue operation ended with the recovery of the last person who was trapped in the ruins, unfortunately he was no longer alive," said the chief of the Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, in a statement. "We mourn with the families of the dead," he added.

The Home Front Command is expected to hand over the responsibility for the site of the collapsed building to Israel Police on Saturday evening. The Home Front Command will hold a ceremony at the site in Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv on Sunday.

Police have questioned several senior officials with the companies that operate the site, including Ronen Ginsburg, CEO of the construction firm Danya Cebus, a daughter company of Africa Israel.

Police sources said that evidence at the scene suggests possible negligence on the part of Danya Cebus. 

Ginsburg addressed a Knesset committee on Thursday, saying that "the incident has nothing to with work safety."

Due to a gag order, Ginsburg avoided commenting on the details of the ongoing investigation, but said that "the company will do everything possible to cooperate with the investigation."

After the parking garage collapse, Haaretz learned that a number of serious safety accidents occurred in recent months at sites under construction by Danya Cebus.

In one of the incidents, about two months ago and at the same site as Monday's accident, a concrete beam collapsed and injured two workers. Police believe that the state failed to send a supervisor to examine the site after the beam collapse, and thus work continued at the site. The Economy Ministry, which oversees construction sites, said it has received no report of the previous collapse.