(UPDATE) RESCUERS SEARCH FOR SURVIVORS AFTER JORDAN FLOODS AS DEATH TOLL RISES TO 20
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Rescuers continue to comb the shores of Jordan's Dead Sea resort area early on Friday to find survivors after rain storms unleashed flash floods that killed at least 20 people, mostly school children during an outing.
Thirty seven people were rescued in a major operation involving helicopters and army and divers searching for survivors who had been swept from valleys to the shores of the area, the lowest point on earth, civil defense sources said.
According to the police, the torrential rains swept away a bus carrying 44 children and teachers who were on a school trip picnicking in the popular destination.
There was a school field trip to the area with 37 students and seven supervisors, Brig. Gen. Police chief Brigadier General Farid al Sharaa, the commanding officer of the Jordanian civil defense team combing the area, told Al Arabiya English.
It also appears some of the students' relatives were also part of the trip, meaning the number of people we're looking for might be more, he added.
Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said it appeared the school had broken regulations by the ministry of education that banned trips to the Dead Sea due to bad weather.
There were an unknown number of people still missing, hospital sources said.
A bridge on one of the cliffs of the Dead Sea had collapsed with the intensity of the rains, the first such heavy rains after the end of the summer season.
Families of victims were searching the rugged area after search teams suspended operations overnight for a few hours, a witness said.
Neighboring 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.
Source: NAMN NEWS NETWORK