Death toll rises to 20 in Jordan school trip flooding tragedy

The flooding happened near the Dead Sea in Jordan

Rescuers were today searching for survivors of flash flooding at the Dead Sea which killed at least 20 people, majority children on a school trip.

He said rescuers were still searching for people missing in the area, a popular tourist attraction around 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Amman.

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

The victims were mostly schoolchildren from the capital, Amman, who were visiting the area on a field trip, Petra news agency reported on Friday.

Among the dead were three Iraqis, two children and a 20-year-old woman who accompanied them on their school bus, a civil defense source said.

Israel's military said it dispatched a search and rescue team at the request of Jordan's government.

"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.

His Majesty also expressed thanks to the civilians who assisted in rescue efforts and voiced pride in their actions, noting that during hard times, Jordanians always rise to the occasion and make everyone proud. Gen. Farid al-Sharaa said via AP.

Civil defence spokesman Capt. Iyad al Omar told Reuters the number of casualties was expected to rise. He was to have been the keynote speaker at a security conference.

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

The UN secretary-general and several regional leaders sent condolences.

This picture shows the site of a bus accident near the Dead Sea in Jordan on October 25, 2018. The first was changing from the trip's approved destination of Azraq in Jordan's Eastern desert to the southern Dead Sea; the second was exceeding the 30-student limit with 37 students; and the third was informing families that the trip to Zarqa Maeen near the Dead Sea was approved by the ministry, when they were only permitted to travel to the original, desert destination.

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