Bus survivor ‘stared death in the face’

By Raanan Ben-Zur, YNET

Senior Warden Sigal Duek saw 36 Prison Service course cadets and staff members burn in front of her eyes, and is struggling to shake off the trauma.

Her brother, Tomer Gamdani, told Ynet on Wednesday that his sister had recounted the disaster before him. “I saw the cadets burn in front of my very eyes. I stared death in the face,” she said. To her husband she had confessed, “I love you all”, certain she would not survive the fire.

Members of Prison Service officers course almost all perished in Carmel fire disaster. Among few survivors: Three cadets who were late in catching bus; six mothers who stayed home; three who escaped fire

Duek started her career in the Prison Service as a warden at the Neve Tirtza Prison, and excelled in her studies at the Prison Service officers’ course. At 36 she was promoted to senior warden. “She loved the Prison Service and the work,” her brother said.

Sigal was not meant to board the cadets bus which headed towards the Damon Prison last Thursday, as she is a married mother of two children aged five and two. However, another female officer asked her to go in her place and Duek agreed.

Sigal related the story of what had happened on the bus to her family: “We drove down the Beit Oren road and while driving noticed private vehicles which were making u-turns because of the flames and the heavy smoke. One of the officers stepped down to direct the bus while it made a u-turn and then the fire hit the bus. It started burning.”

Sigal said the fire spread quickly. “The fire reached the front of the bus and it started going up in flames. I yelled to the cadets to get off immediately. The back door was jammed and the cadets broke it open. When we got off we ran away from the bus.”

Sigal’s brother’s Tomer said that photographer Roni Sofer saved Sigal and two other cadets who were with her. The three got in his car and drove off as the flames surrounded the area.

“It was all a matter of seconds,” the brother noted. “The cadets who were with her helped her run and then she jumped on the car’s windshield and yelled ‘save us, save us.’ She told us she felt the heavy heat on her body as the fire quickly spread. Some of the cadets managed to escape the bus but the fire got hold of them and burned them alive. Had the photographer not been there she and the other cadets would not have made it and would have burned alive like their friends.”

December 9, 2010 | 3 Comments »

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  1. i can guarantee that will be more than enough failures in future terrorist attacks. Arabs have realized that they don’t need a war with Israel. They are learning how to destroy Israel from within. There is no country on earth that can be ready. No way.
    But for Israel it’s UN-EXCUSABLE. Israeli Left and the Leftist establishment that rules the country are busy with their dirty work of talks for peeeese.
    Where is Israel’s HONOR and self-Respect ??? WHERE ???
    How long can Israeli so called “leaders” engage in wining and crying and begging for stinky piece of paper with a word “peeece” or “peace”..or..
    Barak was and is ready to sell parts of Israel for this filthy peeecegarbage. The whole LEFT is willing to “exchange” “land”(??!!…what land??????) for peeeeece.
    ENOUGH of that!
    almost 70 years of BEGGING and CRYING !!!
    STOP IT!

  2. How many civilians will die in the next Hizbullah attack? Is Israel prepared for anything? The bus fire was tragic. I hope it wakes up some leaders in Israel.

  3. A narrow escape for her. and maybe if one more minute the bus had gotten turned around…

    The back door was jammed from the heat – it was that fast.

    The difference there is the flutter of butterfly wings.