Two women in their 20s were killed and more than 50 people were injured Sunday morning when a bus overturned on Route 443 in the West Bank between Modi’in and Jerusalem, after colliding with a passenger car.
The two women have been identified as Rachel Guttman and Ruhama Rosen, both in their 20s. Their funerals were due to be held Sunday evening.
Three passengers were trapped in the wreckage before being extricated by firefighters at the scene of the accident, near the settlement of Beit Horon.
The bus, on the No. 304 line, belonged to the Kavim bus company. It was on its way to Jerusalem from Modi’in Ilit, a large ultra-Orthodox settlement. It collided with a vehicle that had stopped on the side of the road to tend to a minor accident that had occurred earlier on the other side of the highway. The drivers of the bus and passenger car will be questioned under caution, meaning as criminal suspects, after they are released from hospital.
Magen David Adom first responders treated the injured at the scene. Three people were severely injured. Eight suffered moderate injuries. The rest sustained minor injuries. The injured included a husband and wife and their four daughters.
According to witnesses, the two women killed were trapped in the middle section of the bus. The injured were taken to hospitals in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv area.
A Magen David Adom medic, Uriel Goldberg, said that he had been dealing with the earlier minor accident when he heard a loud noise from the opposite lane. He saw the bus flip over on its side.
“With the help of soldiers and civilians on the scene, we started pulling people out. Two passengers were unconscious, while the others were able to walk,” he said. Large contingents of Magen David Adom personnel arrived to provided medical assistance and to evacuate the injured.
Another paramedic described the scene as horrific. “There was a lot of commotion, with some passengers coming out unassisted, while others needed help.”
Due to the nature of the incident, Magen David Adom also dispatched members of its psycho-trauma and crisis response unit to help treat people suffering emotional distress.
The highway was closed to traffic in both directions for several hours.
Similar accidents have occurred in recent months between buses and passenger cars on the country’s highways. In October, eight people, among them three members of one family, including a 3-month-old baby, were killed south of the Dead Sea. Thirteen bus passengers and the driver of the bus sustained lighter injuries.
In May, two people were killed in a collision in the northern Negev between a bus and a car.