U.S. and Canadian volunteers injured in bus accident

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JERUSALEM — Forty-six American and Canadian volunteers, most of them seniors, were injured last weekend when their tour bus missed a curve and overturned.

The volunteers, in Israel on a three-month program sponsored by B'nai B'rith, were heading to Beit Guvrin, near Kiryat Gat.

Most of the passengers were released from nearby hospitals. But 13 were admitted to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon for the treatment of broken bones and other injuries.

Group leader Saidie Symon, 59, said: "Before we knew what was happening we were in a terrible accident. Thank God, all 46 people, including the driver, got out alive, and none of the injuries is life threatening."

Symon added, "Despite the injuries, though, the spirit of the people has been tremendous. Their courage has given me the strength to carry on, and we will try to restart the program tomorrow."

The volunteers come to Israel for three months to work with municipalities, social welfare institutions and hospitals.

"Many of our volunteers come year after year and play a key role in Israel's voluntary sphere," said Alan Schneider, director of the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem.