Jordan Flooding Kills at Least 18 on School Trip near Dead Sea

Geraldine Edwards
October 27, 2018

In April, 10 Israeli students were killed when they were surprised by a flash flood during a hiking trip near the Dead Sea.

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

Large stretches of the Dead Sea highway remained closed to traffic because of the rescue operations, a bridge collapse and fears of further floods with forecasts of more rain.

Rescue workers were continuing to search for survivors, he said.

The body of a 12-year-old girl was found early on Friday and several more people were still feared missing, said the director general of the Civil Defense, Mustafa al-Basaiah.

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Education Minister Azmi Mahaftha said the private school - Amman-based Victoria College - was responsible, not his ministry, for "providing wrong information on their field trip application", according to local media reports.

Israel's military said it dispatched a search and rescue team at the request of Jordan's government.

"May we know no more devastating tragedies as these".

There have been deadly incidents involving flash floods in Jordan in the past and in 1963, 23 French tourists were swept away by flash floods when they were trapped in the ancient Petra city.

Helicopters, marine divers, swimmers and boats were used to rescue at least 34 people, the Jordan Times reported on its website.

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After nightfall, huge spotlights were trained on the search area.

A civil defence official was quoted on state television as saying that the number of casualties was expected to rise.

For his part, King Abdullah II cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations, ordered flags to be lowered to half-mast and announced a three-day mourning period.

He reportedly instructed state agencies to provide all needed assistance to ensure the safety of the students.

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