IDF forces rescue residents trapped by floods

Air Force and Navy forces have rescued stranded residents in several communities, as a powerful winter storm has caused significant flooding

Date: 01/09/2013, 8:29 PM     Author: Yiftach Carmeli, Dana Petrov, IAF Website and IDF Website

IDF forces have assisted in rescuing people stranded by floods in incidents in the north and center of Israel, due to extreme weather conditions this week.

IAF search and rescue teams safely evacuated 15 people trapped on the roof of a building in Baqa al-Gharbiyye after they had fled a nearby field which became flooded. A Yasur Sea Stallion helicopter carrying a crew of the elite Airborne Rescue and Evacuation Unit 669 arrived at the scene and safely evacuated those trapped on the roof.

Earlier, a Tayibe resident became stranded on top of a vehicle caught in a flood. A Black Hawk helicopter carrying a 669 team arrived at the site, rescued the man and transferred him to Beilinson Hospital for medical treatment.

Soldiers of the Israeli Navy – including members of the elite Shayetet 13, the Missile Boat Fleet and the Underwater Missions Unit – have also participated in rescue missions, helping to rescue residents trapped by flooding in the communities of Tayibe, Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Hadera and Bat Hefer.

Israeli Navy bases throughout Israel are prepared for cases of flooding; every base has assigned a number of soldiers to deal with such incidents. Bases also have rubber boats and warm blankets prepared for rescuing residents stranded by floods. "In case of flood, we reach the area by bus or truck, together with the necessary equipment so as to rescue the residents," explained Maj. Itamar Avni, an electronics officer who is also responsible for preparations for flooding at the Haifa naval base. "In the field we operate in accordance with the directions that we receive from the commanders and with coordination with the rescue organizations."

The IAF has also carried out preparations on all bases in response to the stormy weather, and continues to perform all its missions despite the conditions. "This week we are making frequent assessments, adjusting priorities and making decisions regarding activity on all the air force bases," explained commander of the IAF Meteorological Center Lt. Col Eran Beja.