Falling rock kills Israeli cyclist on Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — An Israeli woman was killed after a falling rock hit her during a bicycle tour along a dangerous area dubbed the “Death Road” in the mountains of Bolivia.

The 22-year-old woman died after the rock, which weighed 440 pounds, crushed her leg along the Yungas Road, Ynet reported.

She was evacuated in critical condition on a makeshift stretcher that her Israeli friends concocted in the field after the rescue helicopter they called via a satellite phone was unable to approach due to extreme weather conditions. She succumbed on the way to the hospital.

Dubbed “El Camino de la Muerte” by locals, or the Death Road, the Yungas Road is considered by many to be the most dangerous stretch of road in the world. The 40-mile journey from its summit entices in excess of 25,000 mountain bike riders annually.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has notified the family in Israel. Bolivian and Israeli authorities are working together to handle the return of the body to the Jewish state, the local media reported.

The backpacker was a recently released soldier who was on her post-army trip to South America. She was hiking with friends and two local guides. The hikers traversed a mountain some 5,400 meters above sea level, when the boulder, some 6 feet in diameter, fell off the mountain and struck her. She suffered an open fracture.

Death Road is a popular tourist destination for Israelis and other visitors to the country. Since 1999, at least 10 Israelis have died in accidents there.

Bolivia is home to some 500 Jews, most of whom live in La Paz. There are also smaller communities in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

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