Official news agency Petra said 37 students from a private school, along with seven adults, were swept into a valley when heavy rains unleashed flash floods in the area. At least 18 people, many children under 14, have been killed. Many more are injured. A rescue operation involved helicopters and army troops. A number of families picnicking in the popular destination were also among the dead and injured, rescuers said.
Prime minister Omar Razzaz was on the scene to oversee the rescue mission and King Abdullah cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations. Israel sent search-and-rescue helicopters despite adverse weather conditions. 34 people have been rescued from the area. Some of them are said to be in a serious condition. Hospitals in the area were put on high alert. Details of the victims have not been released. Heavy rain has been sweeping the region for several days. Some streets in the Jordanian capital, Amman, have been inundated, leading to traffic jams, while large hailstorms have been reported elsewhere. The Dead Sea region is often hit by flash floods. Heavy rain is set to continue across the region into Friday. Schools are required to receive an approval from the Ministry of Education’s activities department before planning an excursion. It was not clear if the school in question received an approval from the ministry to organise the trip.