Israel sends elite rescue unit to Jordan after flood kills at least 14
Israel sent IDF forces and helicopters to assist in the rescue operations as 16 people were missing after a flash near the Dead Sea at the request of Jordan, where around 40 children and their teachers were on an outing on Thursday, the army said in a statement released Thursday.
The flash flood claimed the lives of 14 children, local authorities said. 22 others were injured.
"Upon the Jordanian government's request, a number of IAF helicopters have taken off with soldiers from the 669 elite search and rescue unit led by the unit's commanding officer.," the IDF said in a statement. "The IDF has begun assisting in the rescue of the Jordanian children's bus that was swept away adjacent to the Dead Sea on the Jordanian side as a result of flooding in the southern area earlier today."
"At the same moment, the troops are assisting the actions to locate the missing and are doing all in their power in spite of the adverse weather conditions in order to assist the children in the flooded area," the army said.
Israel sent the elite 669 Search and Rescue Unit to asst in the efforts. Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz was on the scene overseeing the rescue mission, state news agency Petra reported.
A major rescue operation involving helicopters and army troops was under way. Search teams have so far rescued 11 people, some of whom are in a serious condition, civil defense sources told Reuters.
Hospitals in the area were put on high alert.
JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
A civil defense official was quoted on state television as saying that the number of casualties was expected to rise.
A witness said a bus with 37 school children and seven teachers had been on a trip to a resort area when raging floodwaters swept them into a valley.
The move comes despite a tense week between the two countries, as Jordanian King Abdullah II elected not to renew an annex of the 1994 peace agreement. In the annex, Jordan allowed Israel to use land at Naharayim (Baqura) near the Kinneret and part of Zofar (al Ghamar), some 120 km north of Eilat.
Reuters, Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>