Death toll in Jordan flood rises to 20, mostly children

Image      The children were attending picnics in the Dead Sea area. File pic

A father of one of the survivors said a bus with 37 school children and seven teachers had been on a trip to the resort area.

The private-school students and their adult chaperones were touring near the Dead Sea when the floods carried them away.

Thirty-four people were rescued in a major operation involving police helicopters and hundreds of army troops, police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa told state television.

"Thank God we managed to save 13 people without any injuries", Mr al Sahraa said.

"It swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometres, " some as far as the Dead Sea, he said.

King Abdullah also cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations, Petra reported.

"IDF soldiers searched for the missing in Jordan until the harsh weather made it impossible to do so and the Jordanian authorities called off the search", it said in a statement.

Heavy rain has been sweeping the region for several days.

This picture shows the site of a bus accident near the Dead Sea in Jordan on October 25, 2018.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz rushed to the scene and later visited the wounded in a hospital.

The low-lying Dead Sea area is prone to flash flooding when rain water rushes down from adjacent hills.

A bridge on one of the cliffs of the Dead Sea had collapsed with the intensity of the rains, the first such heavy rains after the end of the summer season.

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, is surrounded by steep valleys and gullies that frequently see flash floods and landslides.

The spokesman said the students were from a middle school.

The Israeli military said it dispatched an elite search and rescue team to the area at the request of the Jordanian government.

At least 18 people - including several students under age 14 - died in the incident, which took place near the Zara Maeen hot springs amid a heavy rainfall warning, local media reported.

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