Schoolchildren among dead in Jordan flash floods

Schoolchildren among dead in Jordan flash floods
Most of the casualties so far were pupils aboard a school bus that was washed away by a mudslide.
2 min read
25 October, 2018
Several flash floods have struck the Middle East in recent months [Getty]
Flash floods raging near Jordan's Dead Sea swept away a school bus on Thursday, killing at least 17 people, most of them children.

Several more students were injured in the incident, said an official from the civil defence, Jordan's fire service, who asked not to be named.

"Heavy rains caused a flash flood close to the Dead Sea that washed away a school bus carrying 37 students and seven minders," the official said.

Rescue workers were continuing to search for survivors, he said, and The National (Abu Dhabi) reported that more than 20 were still missing as of late Thursday.

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

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

"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.

Heavy rains hit Jordan on Thursday afternoon, causing floods in several areas. 

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth, is surrounded by steep valley slopes that frequently witness flash floods and landslides.

The schoolchildren killed or injured in Thursday's floods were on a field trip to Zarqa Maeen, a popular area for visiting water springs and gorges. 

Officials had prior to the accident repeatedly warned about a heavy storm forecast to hit the kingdom on Thursday. 

Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz arrived at the scene of the accident on Thursday to direct the search and rescue efforts. 

He also said authorities would investigate why the field trip went ahead despite warnings about weather conditions and those found at fault would be held to account.  

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