TEL AVIV (Apr. 23)
Nine girls of the Agudat Israel Teachers Seminary in Beer Yaakov were drowned this afternoon on the Tel Aviv seashore when an entire class from the school went swimming as part of a tour of Tel Aviv. The class, which was under the supervision of an instructor from the school, chose an isolated portion of the beach where the water is particularly deep and surrounded by rocks because the ultra-Orthodox group did not want to be in sight of male bathers.
The tragedy began when one of the girls found the water deeper than she expected and began calling for help. Some 20 other girls rushed to her aid and nine were drowned when heavy waves dashed them against the rocks. Eight bodies have been recovered and a ninth girl is missing and presumed drowned. The other members of the swimming party were rescued by personnel of the nearby Sheraton Hotel and were taken to the hospital for treatment. Four of the girls are still on the critical list but it is hoped they will recover.
The girls, aged 15 to 17, attend the Beit Yaakov Seminary in Beer Yaakov which prepares teachers for the Agudat Israel’s independent education network.