At least eight students have been killed and 16 more are missing after flash floods swept away their bus near the Dead Sea in Jordan, officials say. The bus had been carrying 37 students and seven members of staff to the Zara Maeen hot springs area when it was washed away, officials added.
A huge rescue operation has been launched and Israel said it had sent helicopters at Jordan’s request.
Rescue teams have so far found at least 11 survivors, Reuters reported. Some of them are said to be in a serious condition. The Israeli military said that, following a request from the Jordanian government, it had sent a number of helicopters with soldiers from an elite search and rescue unit.
Troops were helping to locate those missing despite adverse weather conditions, a statement said.
Details of the victims have not been released although an education ministry official said the students were from a private school, the Jordan Times reported.
The official, who was not named, expressed surprise that a school trip had been organised despite weather warnings.
Heavy rain has been sweeping the region for several days. Some streets in the Jordanian capital Amman have been inundated, leading to traffic jams, while large hailstorms have been reported elsewhere.