At least 44 people died in the scrum at Mount Meron in Israel, as worshippers gathered to celebrate Lag BaOmer, the Jewish holiday traditionally marked at this time of year.
According to The Jerusalem Post, at least 103 people were wounded in the crowding. Magen David Adom, the ambulance service claims that six wounded are in critical condition, 18 - in grave condition, two suffered medium gravity injuries. Another 39 people sustained light injuries, writes Haaretz.
Police sources claim that the panic in the crowd emerged when some people slipped on the stairs and fell down, which resulted in dozens more falling. The mobile reception set in that area collapsed as well.
Dozens of ambulance cars and six helicopters reached the site to evacuate the wounded. The police and the military were involved in the rescue works, too. A field hospital was set nearby.
"United Hatzalah CEO Eli Pollack told The Jerusalem Post that the incident occurred when large crowds of people streamed into a closed-in complex, leading to dozens of people being crushed against fences. While all the physically injured people have since been evacuated from the scene, many people requiring psychological aid, including medical volunteers, are still at the scene and are receiving help", writes The Jerusalem Post.
The Israeli police looks into the incident.
Mount Meron belongs to the sacred places revered among the Jews. Every year, pilgrims gather there to honor their spiritual leader, Shimon bar Yochai.