Bus with 37 children swept away by floods near Dead Sea killing at least 20 people
Authorities were unsure why outing arrangements were made since weather officials issued flood warnings earlier in the week.
CTV reports that flash floods near the Dead Sea have led to the death of several middle school children and some family members who were picnicking.
The tragedy, with a death toll now at 20, is being recognized as one of the deadliest incidents by Civil Defence officials of Jordan. At least 13 of the deceased were children. And 34 persons have been rescued.
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According to Mustafa al-Basaiah, a 12-year-old girl's body was found on Friday. But many others remain missing. The search went into the night.
It followed the horrific incident on Thursday afternoon. A private school based in Amman sent out 37 students and seven adult chaperones on a tour.
Nearby, visitors enjoyed hot spring baths some kilometers away from the Dead Sea.
Suddenly, heavy rains led to strong flash floods sweeping them away. Some reached as far as the Dead Sea itself.
Torrential rains and even hailstorms were devastating the region for days prior. It had resulted in traffic jams and other havoc.
An unnamed official expressed shock at the fact that the school tour had been put in place and carried out.
The Jordanian government employed the help of the Israel military. Their rescue teams numbered over 100 persons. Israel used search-and-rescue helicopters. Divers and sniffer dogs were also utilized.
The Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz visited the injured and helped oversee the rescue operations.
King Abdullah canceled plans to go to Bahrain following the tragedy. He reached out to the affected families on Twitter:
He said that "the pain of each father, mother and family is my pain."
The monarch authorized the flag at the palace to be flown at half-staff over three days in respect of the victims lost.
Back in April 2018, another incident led to the death of ten teenagers hiking in Nahal Tzafit, Jordan.
Due to its low-lying location and surrounding deep canyons, the Dead Sea is highly prone to flash floods.
Another tragedy struck near Athens, Greece earlier this year. The Mati village located north-east of Athens experienced a fire in July.
Emergency crews discovered that 26 persons, including children, died in a Mati villa. The deceased group was only 30 meters from the sea.
The wildfires forced over 700 people living near the sea to evacuate. 104 people were injured and 24 people died in addition to those at the villa.
The coast guard reported that they found four persons in the sea. Overall, the death toll surpassed 50.
Officials believe arsonists started the fire when they attempted to loot abandoned homes.