JERUSALEM (JTA) — A young couple drowned in an elevator in southern Tel Aviv amid widespread flooding amid heavy rainfall in central Israel.
Dean Shoshani and Stav Harari, both 25, died Saturday after rain flooded an underground parking lot elevator, according to reports. The elevator doors were locked due to an electrical short caused by the water.
Rescue crews used scuba gear to reach the elevator and remove the couple. They both were declared dead at a nearby hospital. Neighbors who heard the couple banging on the walls of the elevator calling for help said it took emergency crews more than a half hour to arrive on the scene.
Videos posted on social media showed water nearly covering the tops of cars on Tel Aviv streets, as well as people using surf boards and swimming in the streets.
The Tel Aviv municipality said the area got 20 percent of its annual average rainfall in a few hours on Saturday.
Flood warnings also were issued in the Judean Desert and the Jordan Valley over the weekend.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting expressed “deep shock over the tragic deaths” in the Tel Aviv elevator. He called a meeting today “with all of the professional elements in order to learn lessons so that such things do not recur.”
Rain continued to inundate central Israel on Sunday morning but slowed down later in the day. More rain is expected in the middle of the week.