Ambulance service for ultra-Orthodox communities faces scrutiny after drowning

Posted: Updated:
HAVERSTRAW -

An ambulance corps in Rockland is facing scrutiny after a 7-year-old drowned and rescuers allegedly failed to notify police.

Haverstraw police say it took days before investigators knew the girl drowned in a private pool in Pomona last month. They say the person who found the victim called Hatzolah Ambulance, a private company that services residents in ultra-Orthodox communities.  Police allege that rescuers took the child to Westchester Medical Center without notifying police.

While Haverstraw police are now investigating what happened and why they weren't called, a News 12 investigation has uncovered that this isn't the first time incidents have gone unreported in Rockland.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day says law enforcement officials are aware of multiple cases where people directly call for ambulances instead of calling 911 and then the incident goes unreported until it's too late.

While he says there are several private ambulances in Rockland, Day says the largest number of cases seem to be stemming from calls taken by Hatzolah.

News 12 went to Hatzolah for comment on Tuesday and was told that they notify police whenever they have to.

Haverstraw police say the 7-year-old's death appears to be an accident and that no charges are expected to be filed, but a new law has been proposed to make not reporting an incident in Rockland illegal.

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