TEL AVIV (Feb. 5)
Two persons were killed and II were injured in a fire that swept through the top two floors of a five-story luxury hotel on the slopes of the Dead Sea. Four other persons were at first reported missing, but they had apparently checked out earlier. The Tourism Ministry has appointed a commission to investigate the cause of the fire.
The blaze broke out this morning on the upper floors of the Moriah Hotel. Fifteen persons who sought shelter on the roof soon found themselves trapped by the fire. Army helicopters sent to rescue them gave up their efforts when it was found that the downdraft of the copters’ rotors was only fanning the flames. The 15 persons were finally taken off the roof by cranes rushed up from the nearby Dead Sea potash works.
It took some six hours for fire fighters to bring the fire under control. Their efforts were hampered by strong winds. According to police, the hotel had been full of Israeli and foreign tourists, but most of them left last night. The II injured were taken to hospitals in Jerusalem and Beersheba by army helicopters.