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Jordan flash flood kills at least 18, mostly children

At least 18 people, mainly schoolchildren and teachers, were killed on Thursday by a flash flood during a school outing near Jordan’s Dead Sea in one of the worst disasters in the kingdom in years, rescuers and hospital workers said.

According to Press TV, Police Chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa told state television thirty-four people were rescued in a major operation involving police helicopters and hundreds of army troops.

Some of those rescued were in a serious condition. Many of those killed were children under 14. A number of families picnicking in the popular destination were also among the dead and injured, rescuers said, without giving a breakdown of numbers.

Civil Defense Spokesman Captain Iyad al Omar told Reuters the number of casualties was expected to rise.

Hundreds of families and relatives converged on Shounah hospital a few kilometers from the resort area. Relatives sobbed and searched for details about the missing children, a witness said.

The flooding occurred after heavy rainfall, the first such rains after the end of the summer season.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said it appeared the school had broken regulations by the Ministry of Education that forbade trips to the Dead Sea due to bad weather, and pledged an investigation that would hold anyone found responsible for any wrongdoing accountable.

Razzaz said divers and Civil Defense search teams would be conducting search operations deep inside the Dead Sea throughout the night.