At least 18 dead after flash flood in Jordan

Majority of those killed were children and teachers on a school tour near the Dead Sea

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

Thirty-four people were rescued in a major operation involving police helicopters and hundreds of army troops, police chief Farid al Sharaa told state television. 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.

Hundreds of families and relatives of victims 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.

Mr Razzaz said divers and civil defence search teams would be conducting search operations deep inside the Dead Sea throughout the night.

Rescue workers using flashlights were searching the cliffs near the shore of the Dead Sea where bodies had been found.

Civil defence spokesman Capt Iyad al Omar told Reuters the number of casualties was expected to rise.

There have been deadly incidents involving flash floods in Jordan in the past. In 1963, 23 French tourists were swept away by flash floods when they were trapped in the ancient Petra city. – Reuters