Israeli grandmother drowns while tubing on Guatemalan river

Marcus Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A 60-year-old Israeli woman died after drowning at a popular tourist area in Guatemala during an activity with a women-only expedition.

Hadas Ayash, from the northern town of Tivon, drowned Tuesday in a river tubing accident at Guatemala’s Cahabon River near Semuc Champey, which is a natural bridge and major tourist attraction in the region of Lanquín, Alta Verapaz, reported Prensa Libre news portal.

Ayash, mother of three and grandmother of two, had traveled to Guatemala as part of the annual Queen of the Desert group, an Israeli travel agency that specializes in women-only expeditions to test their limits.

It is still unclear what caused her to fall into the water and drown. Liran Eldar, one of the trip participants, told the Israeli news website Ynet: “It isn’t an extreme trip. It’s like tubing in the Jordan River in the summer.”

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“The Israeli Embassy in Guatemala and the Department for Israelis Abroad are helping the family during this difficult time in order to bring the body back to Israel,” read a statement released by Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

In November, Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales was welcomed in Israel by various officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and the Knesset President Yuli Edelstein, all of whom thanked the country for its pivotal role in the creation of the Jewish state.

Guatemala is home to about 1,000 Jews out of a population of 15 million.

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