Brig. Gen. Farid Sharaa: Details of Dead Sea flood tragedy

At least 17 dead, dozens missing in Dead Sea floods

At least 18 people, majority children, died after flash floods swept away a school bus carrying students who were on a trip near the Dead Sea area.

A dramatic operation involving helicopters, marine divers, swimmers and boats followed, said police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa to Jordanian state TV.

Government newspaper Al-Rai carried the headline "Tragedy at the Dead Sea" on its front page, while the private Al-Ghad daily said it was a "Black Day".

Some 22 people have been injured, some of whom are in a serious condition.

A child survivor receives medical care at a hospital near the Dead Sea in Jordan on October 25, 2018.

Also among the dead were passers-by who had been picnicking in the area, he said, adding that a nearby bridge had collapsed.

Hundreds of families and relatives converged on Shounah hospital a few kilometres from the resort area. Several people are still feared missing, he said.

King Abdullah, who had been active in the emergency operations room and following up on rescue efforts late on Thursday and Friday, cancelling a trip to Bahrain to address an annual security summit, expressed his anger at the negligence that led to the deaths of schoolgirls, teachers and residents in the area.

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.

An official with Jordan's civil defence department told the Jordan Times newspaper the death toll was expected to increase. Rescue workers using flashlights were searching the cliffs near the shore of the Dead Sea where bodies had been found.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, said that the Dead Sea flood incident "was a great tragedy that hurt all of us as Jordanians, God bless the dead and give us patience".

Heavy rain has been sweeping the region for several days.

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

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