Jordan floods: Schoolchildren among 19 dead after bus swept away

Jordan floods: Schoolchildren among 19 dead after bus swept away

Jordan floods: Schoolchildren among 19 dead after bus swept away

Sudden heavy rains sent flash floods surging toward them from higher ground, sweeping them away, some as far as the Dead Sea, officials said.

A security source said rescuers were still searching for eight people missing in the Dead Sea area, a popular tourist attraction around 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Amman.

At least 34 people were rescued in a dramatic operation involving helicopters, marine divers, swimmers and boats, according to the website of the Jordan Times.

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State Rajai Muasher, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat, Adviser to His Majesty and Director of the Office of His Majesty Manar Dabbas, Adviser to His Majesty for Tribal Affairs Sharif Fawwaz Zaben Abdullah, and Adviser to His Majesty for Economic Affairs Mohamad Al Ississ attended the meeting.

He posted a copy of the school's field trip permit, which had named a different destination - not the Dead Sea.

"We are now assisting Jordan in rescuing a bus full of children swept away in a flood on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea".

Meanwhile, several people from the area where the floods hit told Al Jazeera that they had repeatedly complained about the bridge that collapsed to the ministry of Public Works and Housing.

"I and all Jordanians are also bereaved by this tragedy", His Majesty said, adding that the tragedy touched the hearts of people in the region and around the world, who expressed their solidarity with Jordan.

King Abdullah also cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue operations, Petra reported.

Neighbouring Israel´s military said that at the request of the Jordanian government, it had sent helicopters and forces specialised in search and rescue to assist in the operation.

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

The incident began early Thursday afternoon when 37 students from an Amman private school, along with seven adult chaperones, as well as other visitors were taking a break at hot springs several kilometers from the Dead Sea shores.

Pictures from the flood showed water gushing over roads and down hills.

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