At least 16 people have died and 35 are injured after flash floods unleashed by heavy rains swept away middle school students and teachers visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea on Thursday, October 25.
Thirty-seven middle school students, seven teachers, and several others were visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea when flash flooding swept through the region on Thursday afternoon, local time. Some of the visitors were eating lunch at the hot springs when the torrent of water, triggered by heavy rain, took them by surprise and carried some people for several kilometers, a civil defense official said.
Thirteen people escaped without injuries, said Brig. Gen. Farid al-Sharaa, speaking after nightfall as large spotlights illuminated the flooded area. Some survived by clinging to rocks, he said.
“[The floodwaters] swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometers [2-3 miles],” Brig. Gen. Farid al-Sharaa said via AP.
A dramatic rescue operation involving helicopters and divers continued into the night. Israel’s military said it dispatched a search and rescue team at the request of Jordan’s government.
Prime Minister Omar Razzaz rushed to the scene and later visited the wounded in a hospital.
As the death toll continued to rise, Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced that he cancelled a visit to Bahrain, which had been scheduled for Friday.