On Wednesday, a little bit before 1:00 p.m., a group of hikers in the Arbel Nature Reserve near Migdal called emergency services when a 12-year-old boy from their group was hit on the head by a falling rock. 

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The 669 Helicopter approaching the scene of the injured boy on Mount Arbel

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Meir Hayon was sitting with a friend in town when he got the call from dispatch alerting him to the emergency. With a quick apology, he left his friend and rushed to the scene. As Meir was mounting his ambucycle, he heard United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Netanel Azarzar report on the communication device that he was leaving the residential area in Tiberias and also responding to the incident at the nature reserve. 


The motorcyclists arrived together at the entrance to the Arbel Reserve, 6 minutes later. “We were the first responders there,” said Meir, “We weren’t able to enter with our ambucycles, so we left them by the entrance and trekked down the mountain on foot, a 2 and a half kilometer hike, to reach the spot where the injured hiker was located. All the while, we stayed on the line with the dispatch center to keep them updated as to our progress.”


When the EMTs arrived at the location of the wounded hiker, they immediately staunched the bleeding from the gash on his head. They then proceeded to check his vital signs and performed additional medical tests and bandaged other wounds. “The boy was conscious but as time passed he slowly started disconnecting and forgetting some things,” Meir recalled. “As he had suffered a severe head trauma we suspected that he had suffered a concussion and knew that he required immediate evacuation to a hospital.” 


Meir and Netanel notified United Hatzalah’s dispatch of the incident and asked for an immediate evacuation via helicopter. The dispatch center contacted the Israel Air Force 669 unit to coordinate a rescue evacuation on the spot.

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Meir and Netanel awaiting the arrival of the helicopter

A helicopter arrived within the next few minutes and the 12-year-old boy was flown to Rambam hospital in Haifa in mild to moderate condition.


Meir said in conclusion, “I felt the incredible satisfaction of saving a life. Even though the route was very difficult, both to get down to where the child was and the hike to get back to the motorcycle, the satisfaction of knowing that the child would receive the best medical care possible, as quickly as possible was worth it.”


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