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TEL AVIV, Israel-Insurers still are estimating their losses from the collapse last week of a pedestrian bridge that killed two athletes and injured at least 66 during the opening of the Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The bridge was erected over the River Yarkon and led to the National Stadium at Ramat Gan, where the 15th Maccabiah Games, known as the Jewish Olympics, were taking place.
Tel Aviv-based insurer Israel Phoenix Insurance Co. wrote third-party liability insurance for the games. A spokesman from Israel Phoenix confirmed the company's role but said he could not give more details of the coverage until his reinsurers were fully acquainted with the situation.
Spokesmen at the Maccabiah Organizations Committee declined to give insurance details.
Insurance industry sources in Israel said the limit of the coverage probably would be about $10 million.
In addition, Tel Aviv-based Migdal Insurance Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Trieste, Italy's Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., wrote 5.5 million shekel ($1.5 million) of professional indemnity coverage for Irgunit, the construction company that built the bridge.
A Migdal spokesman said one of the company's five main divisions, Hamagen Insurance Co., wrote the coverage.
"Hamagen is checking the legal and insurance documents at present," the spokesman said.
Another Tel Aviv-based insurer, ClalInsurance Co., is a sponsor
of the games but is not participating in any of the insurance programs, a spokesman for the insurer said.
Tel Aviv-based Bar-Ilan Engineering, working as a subcontractor for Irgunit, supervised construction of the bridge. The company's owner, Micha Bar-Ilan, was questioned by the Ministry of Labor investigators after the accident.
The ministry is conducting its own investigation into the technical aspects of the accident. The results will be submitted to the police, who will decide whether to prosecute anyone for criminal negligence.
Mr. Bar-Ilan claimed during interviews on Israel radio that the bridge was designed to bear about 550 pounds per square meter. But in the moments preceding the accident, the weight of pedestrians on the bridge was nearly double that, he claimed.
But according to the Israeli Federation of Civil Engineers, the minimum stress standard in Israeli building codes is 1,100 pounds per square meter.
Bar-Ilan Engineering was not taking telephone calls at its Tel Aviv office.
Although the opening ceremony continued as scheduled after the accident, the competition was delayed 24 hours.
A spokesman for the Maccabiah Organizing Committee said the games would cconclude Thursday as planned.
Some events will be shortened to fit with the new schedule, he said.