Boy Dies of Injuries Day After Dad's Fatal Leap to Try and Save Him

Ilai Nir succumbs to injuries from his fall over a cliff in southern Israel's Nahal Tze'elim, two days after his dad, university lecturer Dr. Omri Nir, died in an effort to cushion the boy's fall.

Almog Ben Zikri
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Omri and Ilai Nir.
Omri and Ilai Nir. Credit: Courtesy
Almog Ben Zikri

A 10-year-old boy whose father died trying to save him after a fall in southern Israel's Nahal Tze'elim has succumbed to his injuries and died on Sunday.

The family said they planned to donate Ilai Nir's organs, after the boy's death after a hiking accident was announced at Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva.  

His father, Dr. Omri Nir, 50, of Kfar Vitkin, was killed leaping off a cliff in effort to cushion the blow of the boy's fall into the riverbed during a hike on Friday.

The elder Nir was a lecturer on the modern history and politics of Lebanon at Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University and the Achva Academic College.

He died at the scene of the fall, while his son was evacuated by a helicopter in serious condition to Soroka.

A rescue team evacuates a boy after he fell during a hike near Nahal Te'elim in southern Israel.
A rescue team evacuates a boy after he fell during a hike near Nahal Te'elim in southern Israel.Credit: Micah Ben Gigi, Arad rescue

According to the fire and rescue authority, the hikers were a group from northern Israel joined by 15 children who were present during the incident. 

"We started descending to Breicaht Tsfira ... There are handles there and we made sure all the kids were going down," Hiker Udi Segel, 50, said.

Segel said he was surprised to hear a thud and see the child fall onto his father. "His father grabbed him. They both rolled toward the cliff. He held his son the entire time.

According to Segel, a medic was the first to reach the two.

"He went to the child first. He signaled to me that he was alive and needed a bottle of water. The child was breathing, but he was in bad shape. The medic stabilized him. We waited there for over an hour. When the fall happened, most of the parents were above us and I yelled for them to call for rescue."

Segel said there was no cellular service in the area and it took the hikers twenty minutes until they managed to call for help.

"Two other parents were with us and we took the children to the side; the children saw everything. It was hysteria, they didn't know who had fallen and some of them thought it was their father. We spoke to the children and they understood everything." 

Segel added that a statement on the incident was released to the media before the families were updated. "This caused a lot of mothers grief," he said.