Hatzoloh of Montreal, Chaverim Shomrim of Montreal-Tosh, and Refuah V’Chesed joined forces to rescue eight Jews injured in a five vehicle accident on the 87 highway near Plattsburgh, Quebec on Sunday night.
At exactly 7:00 PM, freezing rain coating the 87 North caused a car driven by a non-Jew to lose control and spin over to the side of the highway near the Stratton Hill Road Overpass between exits 40 and 41.
Several minutes later, a Chassidic Jew, alone in his car, lost control on the black ice, spun out of control and smashed into the first car on the side of the road.
A third car soon drove by and the driver, seeing the accident, pulled over to provide aid. “Why don’t you come sit in my car until the emergency services arrive?” Asked the driver, a non-Jew.
Scared and cold, the drivers of the first two cars got into the third car to warm up. 911 was called, as was Chaverim. The three drivers were relieved to be out of the cold and in the safety of the third car.
However, a short while later a fourth car spun out of control and smashed into the third car, totaling it and injuring the passengers inside.
A fifth vehicle, a minivan with seven young Heimishe men, was next to hit the patch of black ice. They had stopped in the rest area a few minutes prior, and seeing that the roads were icy, had started driving slowly. On reaching the site of the accident, they slowed further and when they hit the icy patch, turned into the snow.
Slow as it was, the car rolled over a few times, falling 35 feet away from the highway in the snow. The car was upside down, and the seven men inside the car couldn’t get out.
One of the passengers quickly started Schlepping the men out one by one. However, one man was stuck and no matter how hard the man tried, he couldn’t get him out.
At this point others came to help too, but the man inside the minivan was completely stuck.
Then the car started smoking and a small fire was seen. The men quickly poured snow over the fire, worried that the car might G-d forbid explode.
The men then started pulling their belongings out of the minivan, hoping to free the man trapped inside the vehicle. Soon, the fire department arrived. They cut open the car and were able to free the Chassidic man trapped inside, who was badly injured.
Six men were quickly transferred to the hospital in Plattsburgh, and two others stayed behind.
“Chaverim arrived and we managed to gather all of their belongings which was strewn all over the entire area,” said Bery Eisner, director of Chaverim and Shomrim of Montreal and Tosh. “From the two Jewish cars there were Tefillin, Shtreimels, glasses, shoes, passports, Sefarim, food all over the highway and in the snow on the side of the highway.”
All the personal belongings were taken into the cars driven by members of Chaverim, who then gave the people involved in the accident a lift to the hospital and handed everyone their belongings.
“We also provided all of them with kosher food,” added Eisner, who also praised Hatzoloh who were in the hospital working on the medical side of things. “It was a joint effort between Hatzoloh and Chaverim.”
In the hospital the people involved in the accident called their families, and the less injured were provided lifts back home.
Members of Hatzoloh had driven straight to the hospital and been working to ensure that the people involved in the accident were given the best treatment possible. Hatzoloh and Refuah V’Chesed organized transport for the two more seriously injured individuals in a private ambulance which drove them straight to the Montreal General Hospital where the men are reportedly in stable condition.
Unfortunately the non-Jew who had been driving the fourth car passed away in the Plattsburgh hospital.
The I-87 North between exits 40 and 41 was closed for several hours as emergency crews cleaned up and spread salt over the highway.
Please say Tehillim for Yacov Ben Ruchel, Yissucher Ber Ben Malka, Yacov Elimelech Ben Malka, and Elimelech Ben Chaya Ruchel.