Mass Casualties in Israeli Tour Bus Accident

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EILAT, Israel - At least 24 people were killed and as many as 30 injured when a private tour bus plunged down a 45-foot ravine north of Eilat.

The bus, carrying Russian tourists who had just arrived from St. Petersburg, was en route to Israel's southernmost resort town.

Magen David Adom (MDA, the national rescue service) dispatched 20 ambulances, and the Israeli Air Force flew three medevac helicopters to the scene of the accident.

MDA flew additional paramedics to assist in rescue efforts.

Click play for more with CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell.

Most of the injured were transported to Eilat's Yosephtal Medical Center.

Doctors and nurses from Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center were flown to Yosephtal to help treat the wounded, and the Health Ministry also called on medical personal attending a conference in Eilat to go to the hospital to lend a hand.

"There were at least 50 passengers on the bus," Eilat Municipality Director-General Avi Cohen said.

"They all came from St. Petersburg. We informed the Tourism Ministry, and the Russian consul is making his way to Eilat," he said.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, though another bus driver told Israel Radio that he'd seen the driver in front of him driving recklessly.

A reporter from Israel Radio at the scene of the accident said it looked "like a killing field," with people trapped underneath the bus.

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