Four Killed After Crane Collapse in Central Israeli City

Police puts four people who were employed at the site under house arrest; last month a worker died at the same scene

The construction site in Yavne, May 19, 2019.
Magen David Adom

Four construction workers were killed Sunday when a crane collapsed in a construction site in central Israel.

Workers at the Yavne construction site had finished work on the crane for the day, and were in the process of breaking it down. The weights that hold the crane up suddenly fell to the ground, critically wounding three workers below. 

A paramedic at the scene said that during the rescue effort, they showed no signs of life. "We had no choice but to declare them dead."

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Another construction worker remained on the crane, dozens of meters in the air. After attempts by firefighters to extract him, he was declared dead at the scene.

It is still unknown whether the crane collapsed due to technological failure or human error. The Peles Unit, a police team that reviews work-related accidents, will investigate.

Eleven people who were employed at the construction site were interrogated in connection to the accident and four of them were put under house arrest for five days under restrictive conditions, the police said Sunday. Overall, 17 people were questioned by police as part of the investigation, police said.

Hadash MK Ayman Odeh said that the deaths "are a direct result of policies, neglect and contempt for human life" in a Twitter post on Friday. "It's no coincidence that the victims are the most underprivileged in society, those whose lives are less equal in the eyes of the government than the contractors who profit off their blood."

Last month, 31-year-old Itzik Cohen, another construction worker, was killed at the same site. Cohen was electrocuted when he came in contact with a crane that touched a high-tension wire. He was evacuated in critical condition to Kaplan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.   

Nineteen construction workers have been killed in building accidents this year alone, and 34 have been killed in workplace accidents in total.

On Thursday, two construction workers fell to their deaths at two construction sites in central Israel, prompting arrests of three construction company employees in one case's ongoing investigation.