Flash Floods Near Dead Sea Sweep Away School Group

At least 17 dead, dozens missing in Dead Sea floods

Thirty-seven middle school students, seven teachers and several others were visiting the area when the torrent of water, triggered by heavy rain, took them by surprise, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Most of the children killed in the incident were below 14.

"Currently assisting Jordan in rescuing a bus full of children swept away in a flood on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea", it wrote on Twitter.

As of Thursday evening, civil defence officials said they had rescued 34 citizens including children who were sent to hospitals in Amman, Salt and Shouneh in the Jordan Valley. "The soldiers, led by the commanding officer of Unit 669, are assisting in locating the missing in spite of the adverse weather conditions", the statement said.

Thirteen people escaped the flooding without injuries, with some holding on to rocks to survive.

"This is a major rescue operation involving personnel from different state agencies as well as several rescue helicopters and boats, marine divers and swimmers, who are on site now to rescue trapped people and search for missing ones", an officer at the CDD's press department told The Jordan Times over the phone.

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

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 Civil Defense confirmed the rescue of 10 students stormed by rainwater in the Zara area near the Dead Sea. Some of those rescued are in a serious condition.

The media reports did not provide the ages of the students.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz is now overseeing part of the rescue operation and visiting the injured.

Jordan's King Abdullah II canceled a planned working visit to Bahrain, initially scheduled for Friday.

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