The bodies of Israeli travelers Ofer Levy and Gabi Ingel, who went missing during last week's devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, were discovered Monday night (Israel time) by local search teams.
The Foreign Ministry confirmed the report, saying the victims' families have been notified.
Rehovot residents Levy and Ingel, both 22 years old, arrived in New Zealand in December and were meant to begin working at a vineyard located in close proximity to where the earthquake hit. The tremor also claimed the life of 23-year-old Ofer Mizrahi from Kibbutz Magal.
Ofer's uncle Yaakov Levy, who traveled to Christchurch over the weekend to try and gather information that would shed some light on his nephew's fate, told Ynet "the family is devastated, as any family would be after losing its youngest son under such surprising circumstances. We had hopes up to the last minute – as long as they were still considered missing and no bodies were found.
"We did what we could; no stone was left unturned. Now they have been identified. An Israeli forensics team has arrived in New Zealand to help out," he said, adding that Ofer was apparently killed on the spot.
Yaakov Levy said he hopes the bodies will be returned to Israel for burial as soon as possible.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that aid is on its way to Christchurch – despite New Zealand's polite refusal of Israel's initial offer for help.
Ynet learned Monday that New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Ministry sent out a list of resources that it needs in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. Addressed to dozens of nations that offered assistance, the letter asks the governments to indicate what resources or equipment they can provide, stressing that these possibilities will be examined before being finalized – a fact that did not stop Netanyahu from announcing that relief will soon be delivered.
"After Netanyahu's post-earthquake conversation with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, New Zealand's government has asked Israel for aid with sanitation, water purification, and portable facilities," the Prime Minister's Office stated on Saturday. "The prime minister instructed authorities to respond to New Zealand's request as soon as possible."
Netanyahu added during a government meeting on Sunday morning that he will speak to New Zealand's government in order to "see what we can send them."
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