Australian, 90, survives bush fire

By Dan Goldberg, February 18, 2009

A 90-year-old Jewish man feared dead in Australia’s worst bush fires has been found alive.

Eugene Goodvach’s burnt-out car was found last week near his country house in Marysville, a small Victoria town destroyed in fires that have killed more than 180 people.

His family was unable to contact him but it is now understood that Mr Goodvach had been evacuated to a nearby village by emergency personnel.

Officials expect the death toll to top 230 because so many people are believed to have been incinerated in the inferno. Among the dead was John Barnett, a Jewish academic originally from London, who died with his wife Jenny as they tried to flee in their car.

Special prayer services were held in synagogues in Melbourne on Thursday and Friday night.

Last updated: 11:22am, February 18 2009