Jordan floods: At least 19 dead after torrential rains sweep away students on school trip near Dead Sea

Dozens rescued by military after bus plunges into valley

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 25 October 2018 18:06
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Jordan floods: At least 18 dead after torrential rains sweep away students on school trip near Dead Sea

At least 19 people have been killed and many more injured when torrential rains swept away a group of students and teachers touring in a bus near the Dead Sea, Jordan's military said.

Official news agency Petra said 37 students from a private school, along with seven adults, were swept into a valley when heavy rains unleashed flash floods in the area.

Dozens were rescued in an operation involving helicopters and army troops, police chief brigadier general Farid al Sharaa told state television.

Many of those killed were children under 14. A number of families picnicking in the popular destination were also among the dead and injured, rescuers said, without giving a breakdown of numbers.

Rescuers searching for survivors early on Friday discovered the body of a 12-year-old boy, taking the death-toll to 19.

Prime minister Omar Razzaz was on the scene to oversee the rescue mission, Petra reported, while King Abdullah cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations.

In response to a request by Amman, Israel sent search-and-rescue helicopters to assist its neighbour, and was operating on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, an Israeli military statement said.

Hundreds of families and relatives converged on Shounah hospital a few kilometres from the resort area. Relatives sobbed and searched for missing children, a witness said.

Civil defence spokesperson, captain Iyad al Omar, told Reuters the number of casualties was expected to rise.

Rescue workers using flashlights were searching the cliffs near the shore of the Dead Sea where bodies had been found.

Additional reporting by agencies

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