TEL AVIV (Jul. 19)
A 16th passenger succumbed Tuesday night to injuries sustained in the July 6 Egged bus disaster.
Tova Meiman, a 19-year-old soldier from Or Yehuda, died at Sheba government hospital in Tel Hashomer. She had been in a coma since the accident.
Her death followed by hours that of Rita Levine, a 39-year-old American lawyer from Philadelphia, who was the 15th victim of the terrorist attack. Levine died earlier Tuesday at Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Kerem.
Levine’s spinal cord was severed when the bus plunged into a ravine, overturned and caught fire two weeks ago, after an Arab aboard grabbed the steering wheel.
Fourteen of the passengers, including two Canadians, died immediately in the crash. Meiman and Levine are the only fatalities so far among the 27 injured.
The wounded included the bus driver and the Arab perpetrator, a resident of the Gaza Strip who is in police custody.
Levine, who was contemplating aliyah, was on a six-month leave from her job in Philadelphia to study Israeli law and Hebrew.
She was being treated in the orthopedics department at Hadassah University Hospital, where doctors said she was making satisfactory progress, though paralyzed from the waist down.
Levine was getting about in a wheelchair, chatted with friends and sounded cheerful when interviewed by Israel Radio a few days ago.
She told the interviewer that the bus disaster, attributed to the 19-month-old Palestinian uprising, did not change her mind about settling in Israel.
But recently she complained of breathing difficulties and her condition deteriorated suddenly, surprising her doctors. They gave respiratory complications as the cause of Levine’s death.
Her body was to be flown to Philadelphia for burial Wednesday night.