18 dead as floods sweep away students, teachers near Dead Sea

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Thirteen people escaped the flooding without injuries, with some holding on to rocks to survive.

The Israeli military joined in the search, sending several helicopters from the Israeli Air Force's elite search-and-rescue Unit 669 across the border, the army said.

At least 17 are dead; more than 20 were injured.

At least 18 people have been killed after flash floods swept away a group of teachers and students visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea.

Dozens more were missing, students and civilians whose bus was swept away by flash flooding as they were traveling there.

The students and their adult chaperones were on a bus when sudden heavy rains led to flash floods in the southern area, according to officials.

Heavy rain has been sweeping the region for several days.

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Regarding the accident, the Jordanian Ministry of Education indicated in a statement, that they are going to open an official investigation of what happened and pointed out that "the school did not have permission to travel" through the Dead Sea area.

A major rescue operation was underway today after flash floods hit the area near Jordan's Dead Sea.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz rushed to the scene, overseeing part of the rescue operation and visiting the wounded at an area hospital.

Jordan's King Abdullah cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue.

So far, search teams have rescued 11 people, some of whom are in a serious condition, civil defence sources told Reuters.

The premier also telephoned the Minister of Interior and Municipalities and minister of Public Works and Housing and discussed means on how to deal with the incident with maximum attention and speed, and to provide the necessary mechanisms and manpower for the safety of students, teachers and citizens in the region.

A civil defence official was quoted on state television as saying that the number of casualties was expected to rise.

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