Death toll rises to 20 in Jordan school trip flooding tragedy

Unit 669 simulates rescue operation January 2010

Unit 669 simulates rescue operation January 2010

"The IDF has begun assisting in the rescue of the Jordanian children's bus that was swept away adjacent to the Dead Sea on the Jordanian side as a result of flooding in the southern area earlier today", the IDF stated.

As night fell, huge spotlights were trained on the cliffs around the sea, finding 10 people awaiting rescue, alongside more bodies.

Heavy rain has been sweeping the region for several days.

He also expressed anger toward those who he said "failed to take measures that could have prevented this painful incident".

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At least 35 people were injured and a nearby bridge also collapsed, according to local media reports.

The death toll from flash floods near Jordan's shore of the Dead Sea rose to 21 on Friday, in what Civil Defense officials said was one of the deadliest incidents in the kingdom involving schoolchildren.

King Abdullah II cancelled his scheduled trip to Bahrain following news of the flooding, and in a later tweet thanked surrounding Arab nations, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia for its condolences.

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

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Israel sent search-and-rescue helicopters to help, an Israeli military statement said.

The media reports did not provide the ages of the students. But how many schoolchildren have died after flash floods hit families having picnic?

On Twitter, Jordanian user Renad Khafner said she knew of a mother who had sent her two daughters on the school trip that was hit in the flooding.

While temperate weather makes travel in Jordan's desert of Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba favourable for tourists, winter in Jordan occasionally brings flash floods, dust storms and high winds that can make travel between the governorates, and particularly along valleys and steep mountain routes, hazardous.

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Thirteen of the dead and 26 of about three dozen people wounded in Thursday's flash floods were middle school children, officials said.

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