21 killed after flash flood sweeps away students, teachers near Dead Sea

A group of middle school students and teachers were visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea when flash flooding swept through the region on Thursday afternoon, local time.

Thirty-seven middle school students, seven teachers and several others were visiting the area when the torrent of water, triggered by heavy rain, took them by surprise, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Jordan flash flood AP
Jordan flash flood AP

A general view shows the location of the accident where people were killed in a flash flood near the Dead Sea, Jordan, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

At least 21 people have died and at least 35 others injured. An unknown amount of people are missing.

"[The floodwaters] swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometers [2-3 miles]," Brig. Gen. Farid al-Sharaa said via AP.

Thirteen people escaped the flooding without injuries, with some holding on to rocks to survive.

An Israeli military search and rescue team was dispatched to the scene to help with recovery efforts, the AP reported.

Helicopters and divers were used during the rescue operation which lasted into Thursday night.

The storm system that triggered the heavy rainfall and flooding will depart the region on Friday, with dry weather in store for continued cleanup and rescue operations this weekend.

The region is accustomed to flash flooding events due to its low elevation amid surrounding mountains. In April, 10 teenagers died after heavy rain sparked flash flooding south of the Dead Sea.