Rescuers search for survivors after Jordan floods kill at least 18 people

A general view show the location of the accident where people, mainly schoolchildren and teachers, were killed on Thursday in a flash flood near the Dead Sea, Jordan October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

AMMAN (Reuters) – Rescuers combed the shores of Jordan’s Dead Sea resort area early on Friday to find survivors after rain storms unleashed flash floods that killed at least 18 people, mostly school children during an outing.

Thirty seven people were rescued in a major operation involving helicopters and army and divers searching for survivors who had been swept from valleys to the shores of the area, the lowest point on earth, civil defense sources said.

Police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa told state television the torrential rains swept away a bus carrying 44 children and teachers who were on a school trip picnicking in the popular destination.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said it appeared the school had broken regulations by the ministry of education that banned trips to the Dead Sea due to bad weather.

There were an unknown number of people still missing, hospital sources said.

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.

Families of victims were searching the rugged area after search teams suspended operations overnight for a few hours, a witness said.

Neighboring Israel sent search-and-rescue helicopters to assist, an Israeli military statement said, adding the team dispatched at Amman’s request was operating on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.

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