18 dead as floods sweep away students and teachers near Dead Sea

A general view shows the location of the accident where people were killed in a flash flood near the Dead Sea Jordan

At least 18 people, mainly schoolchildren and teachers, were killed today in a flash flood near the Dead Sea in Jordan, while they were on an outing, rescuers and hospital workers said.

"The students were on a school trip and it appears that a mudslide along the road swept their bus away", the official added.

"Heavy rains caused a flash flood close to the Dead Sea that washed away a school bus carrying 37 students and seven minders", an official with Jordan's fire service told AFP.

Thirty-four people were rescued in an operation involving helicopters and army troops, police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa told state television.

"It swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometres, " some as far as the Dead Sea, he said.

The Air Force said after midnight that the rescue mission had returned to Israel.

Late on Thursday, 10 more students and a teacher were found and awaiting rescue, media reports said.

This picture shows the site of a bus accident near the Dead Sea in Jordan on October 25, 2018.

A child survivor receives medical care at a hospital near the Dead Sea in Jordan
RAAD ADAYLEH APA child survivor receives medical care at a hospital near the Dead Sea in Jordan

There were an unknown number of people still missing, hospital sources said.

Flash flooding was reported in the south due to heavy rainfall with police closing off Highway 90 by the Dead Sea, which flooded it.

The official, who was not named, expressed surprise that a school trip had been organised despite weather warnings.

Thursday's incident is the second tragedy resulting from flash-flooding near the Dead Sea this year.

King Abdullah II cancelled his scheduled trip to Bahrain following news of the flooding, and in a later tweet thanked surrounding Arab nations, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia for its condolences.

Israel and Jordan braced for the first major storm of the winter on Thursday, with strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding expected to batter the country.

Prime Minister Omar Razza helped with the rescue operation, according to the Jordan Times.

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