An Israeli special forces soldier has died after being dragged away by a strong river while on holiday in Mexico.
The incident took place in the Santo Domingo River, in the municipality of Comitan, in the south-eastern Mexican state of Chiapas, last Wednesday (10th November), but his body was only found on Saturday (13th November).
The victim has been identified as Israeli soldier Yanai Rimon, 25, with local media outlet Infobae reporting that his body had been airlifted.
Rimon was reportedly on holiday with friends after finishing his service in a special forces unit in the Israel Defense Forces.
He had been enjoying some time off with some friends at the Las Nubes ecotourism centre, which is located on the border with Guatemala, when he reportedly went near a dangerous part of the Santo Domingo River and was dragged away by the current after falling in.
Lifeguards and other officials began searching the river as well as tributary rivers on Thursday in a bid to find the young man.
His friends told local media outlets that he had fallen from a height of five metres (16 feet) into the river before being sucked into a waterfall.
One of Rimon’s friends, named by Infobae as Benny Markovich, told Israeli media outlet Ynet: “They went, seven guys, and there was a point where they needed to cross the river, and at that point, he slipped.”
Markovich added: “He slipped and fell and was swept into a strong current and then into the waterfall.”
Rimon, who was originally from the city of Sderot, which is located less than a mile from Gaza, was the second of four children to Nirit and Dori Rimon.
His family had set up a meeting room at their home so that their relatives and friends could follow the latest developments in the search for the young man.
They were reportedly devastated at the news that Rimon’s lifeless body had been found.
The family was quoted as saying: “Yanai, a child of light, was brought up and educated in Sderot and loved the people of his city with all his heart.”
They added: “Yanai was drafted into the elite Duvdevan Unit after a year of national service in Kfar HaYarok (Youth Village), and he was a combat soldier in Duvdevan, where his teammates were his closest friends until his death.”
The family expressed their gratitude to Rimon’s friends, who said they immediately began looking for him and promised that they would not return to Israel without him.
They said: “Our heart goes out to them and to the large group of friends who joined them and night and day did not stop trying to locate him, and did not let go of the belief that they would find him alive.”
The family also thanked all those who had been involved in the search, as well as their friends, the Jewish community in Mexico, and the local rescue services.
Rimon’s body was reportedly flown to Mexico City on Saturday night before being flown to Israel for burial.