The two Israel fatalities in a Nepalese bus crash Friday that claimed 14 lives were named Friday night as Shira Dabush, 30, from Ramat Gan and Omer Shemesh, 22, from Hod Hasharon.
Dabush had just finished her medical residency at Haemek Hospital in Afula. She was in Nepal on a trip with her boyfriend, the family said.
“Shira was a young physician who recently finished her residence. She graduated from medical school in Beersheba with honors,” Channel 10 quoted her family as saying.
Shira was an only child to a mother who considered her “her whole world,” the family said.
According to Channel 2, Shemesh was also on the trip with her boyfriend, who was injured lightly in the crash.
The Foreign Ministry said it was working to transfer the bodies of the two women to Israel.
A third Israeli traveler whose fate was unknown was found alive in a hospital. Three other Israelis were among the more than 50 people injured in the crash.
Hilik Magnus, the head of Magnus International Search and Rescue, which helps locate and save Israeli travelers, told The Times of Israel that “thanks to the terrific efforts of Ilana Ravid” at the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli embassy staff in Kathmandu, the Israeli thought to have gone missing after the crash, was located in a hospital in Nepal.
Israeli news outlet NRG had earlier quoted Chabad officials in Nepal as saying that three Israelis died in the accident, but that report was apparently erroneous.
One injured Israeli recounted the events in an interview with Channel 10.
“At one of the curves, the bus started rolling [off the mountainside],” Ines Attias said, adding that she lost consciousness when the bus flipped over, but she remembered trying to climb out of the bus after it came to rest.
Attias said the passengers were worried that the bus might be overloaded before the crash.
“We thought something was wrong, but they told us that it was normal, that it was the holiday season,” she recalled.
Another survivor told Ynet that “there were about 30 Nepalese on the bus and another 30 on the roof.”
An Israeli travel agency confirmed that four Israelis had purchased tickets for the bus ride northward from the capital of Kathmandu to the mountainous Langtang National Park. It was not yet clear if the other two Israelis were on the bus, or how many Israelis had bought tickets through other agencies.
The bus drove off a mountainside road some 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Kathmandu and fell 50 meters (160 feet) down the mountainside, Israeli media reports said. One Nepalese report in the Himalayan Times said the bus fell 200 meters (650 feet).
Israeli Embassy officials and the local Chabad emissary arrived at the site of the crash Friday morning Israel time, according to local and Israeli media reports, while Israel’s ambassador to the Himalayan state, Yaron Mayer, was at a Kathmandu hospital visiting and searching for Israeli victims of the crash.
The incident marks the second dramatic accident in two weeks involving Israelis in Nepal. Last week, four Israeli climbers were killed when a blizzard and avalanches swept the mountains of the Annapurna region in the country’s north. The avalanches resulted in 43 dead — 21 foreigners and 22 Nepalese guides, porters and villagers — and led to the largest-ever rescue operation in the country’s history, which saw the Nepalese military evacuate 518 stranded trekkers, including 310 foreigners, before the operation was completed on Monday.
According to the Walla news site, Israeli travel agencies reported that the two women killed in Friday’s crash had planned to travel to the Annapurna region, but changed their plans after the deadly avalanches.