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At least 18, mostly children, killed in Jordan flash flood

28 October 2018

"We are now assisting Jordan in rescuing a bus full of children swept away in a flood on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea".

A complex rescue operation involving helicopters, divers, sniffer dogs and hundreds of searchers continued into the night Thursday and resumed Friday.

The country was hit with sudden heavy rain, which flooded the hot springs area near the Dead Sea.

The official news agency Petra said 37 students, along with seven adults, had been touring near the Dead Sea when heavy rains unleashed flash floods in the area.

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King Abdullah, who had been active in the emergency operations room and following up on rescue efforts late on Thursday and Friday, cancelling a trip to Bahrain to address an annual security summit, expressed his anger at the negligence that led to the deaths of schoolgirls, teachers and residents in the area.

At least 18 have been confirmed dead and 35 were injured as the torrent carried some for several kilometres, a civil defense official said.

"My sadness and sorrow are matched only by my anger at anyone who did not take the steps that could have prevented this painful incident", the king wrote on Twitter. The spokesman said the students were from a middle school.

He posted a copy of the school's field trip permit, which had named a different destination - not the Dead Sea.

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Israel's military said it was helping with the operation, sending helicopters as well as search and rescue soldiers.

"The teachers tried to save the children but the floods intensity made it impossible", he added saying the children were swept to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.

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

"We are especially able to sympathize with the Jordanian families because we also experienced a similar tragedy last April, when 10 students perished following torrential rains that caused flash floods during their trip in the desert", Maj.

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In a separate incident a four-year-old was killed in southern Israel when he was swept away by flooding, local media reported.

At least 18, mostly children, killed in Jordan flash flood