Dozens dead or missing in Jordan school trip tragedy

Dozens dead or missing in Jordan school trip tragedy

Dozens dead or missing in Jordan school trip tragedy

Neighbouring Israel sent search-and-rescue helicopters to assist, an Israeli military statement said, adding the team dispatched at Amman's request was operating on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea.

Dozens more were missing, students and civilians whose bus was swept away by flash flooding as they were traveling there. "The soldiers ... are assisting in locating the missing in spite of the adverse weather conditions", the Israeli Defence Forces said.

According to civil defence officials, rescuers were dealing with a larger than expected number of victims, which they attributed to people other than the school group being present at the Dead Sea shore when the floods struck.

In April, 10 teenagers died after heavy rain sparked flash flooding south of the Dead Sea.

Flash floods unleashed by heavy rains swept away middle school students and teachers visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea.

The region was bracing on Thursday for the first winter storms after the summer, with heavy rainfall and high winds expected.

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The spokesman said the students were from a middle school.

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.

Unit 669 performs search and rescue operations in both military and civilian conditions - extracting wounded soldiers from war zones and transporting auto crash victims to hospitals.

As the death toll continued to rise, Jordan's King Abdullah II announced that he cancelled a visit to Bahrain, scheduled for Friday local time.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz is now overseeing part of the rescue operation and visiting the injured.

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and popular with visitors.

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