Israel pit disaster: Two firefighters die trying to save Palestinian who fell into a pit

Witness says Dekel Marciano and Adnan Assad attempted to pull the Palestinian worker out from a pit before losing consciousness; hospital says firemen arrived in critical condition


The Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya on Tuesday announced the death of Dekel Marciano, a 33-year-old firefighter who, alongside fellow fireman Adnan Assad, was critically injured trying to rescue a Palestinian man who fell into a pit near the northern Arab town of Deir al-Assad.
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The Palestinian, a man in his 20s working in Israel illegally, and Assad were pronounced dead upon arriving at the hospital, while Marciano remained in critical condition.
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זירת הבור בדיר אל אסד
זירת הבור בדיר אל אסד
The pit into which the Palestinian worker fell
(Photo: Nachum Segal)
Marciano, a resident of Ma'alot, is survived by his wife and three children, the youngest of whom is only a month old. Sergeant Firefighter Marciano has served in the Israel Fire and Rescue Services since 2014.
Following the incident, Marciano was rushed to the hospital in critical condition while undergoing resuscitation. The hospital reported that during his treatment in the hospital’s shock room, his heart was resuscitated and he was transferred to the intensive care unit while intubated.
Dr. Uriel Trahtemberg, the Galilee Medical Center’s intensive care unit head, said Marciano "suffered from a multi-systemic injury, including respiratory and blood vessel damage, kidney damage and suspected brain damage. Due to his kidneys’ condition, he was connected to a dialysis machine overnight, but unfortunately, it failed to help and his blood pressure gradually dropped.”
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Dekel Marciano and Adnan Assad
Dekel Marciano and Adnan Assad
Dekel Marciano and Adnan Assad
“Early in the morning, his family was called to his bedside, and his condition was explained to them. His death was confirmed around 7am." The hospital expressed their sorrow over the fireman's death. "We share in the family's grief and embrace them through these difficult times."
Meanwhile, the police are continuing their investigation into the incident, and on Monday, the Palestinian worker's employer, Samed al-Aramin from Hebron, was interrogated under suspicion of negligent homicide.
Many contradictions were found in the employer’s account of the events that led to the death of the Palestinian who stayed in Israel illegally, as well as to Assad and Marciano's deaths.
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פעולות חילוץ ליד כרמיאל: נער נפל לבור - ושניים שניסו לסייע לו נפלו אף הם
פעולות חילוץ ליד כרמיאל: נער נפל לבור - ושניים שניסו לסייע לו נפלו אף הם
Fire and Rescue forces on scene
(Photo: Israel Police)
Marciano and Asaad, who arrived at the scene in order to rescue al-Aramin, lost consciousness during the rescue. One of the first responders at the scene, a resident of Deir al-Assad who lives nearby, said that Asaad descended into the pit first, but lost consciousness before someone managed to bring a ladder for him to exit the pit.
"We couldn't get him out due to his unconscious state, so the second firefighter descended to help him," the man said.
Dr. Trahtemberg said he believed natural gasses were the reason the two lost consciousness in the pit. “When you throw horse manure or organic waste into the pit, it ferments and decomposes.”
“As a result of these processes, organic gases are released and accumulate at the bottom of the pit. They don't rise up and don't disperse, the oxygen percentage at the bottom of the pit is very low. It’s likely, they lost consciousness due to lack of oxygen," he explained.
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