At least 17 killed in Jordan flooding; Israel joins rescue effort

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The bus, loaded with 37 students and seven chaperones, was hit by a flash flood near the Dead Sea, close to the Israeli border, on Thursday evening.

In April, 10 Israeli students were killed in a flash flood while on a hiking trip near the Dead Sea.

"In light of a request from the Jordanian government, a number of air force helicopters with 669 soldiers, led by the commander of the unit, were dispatched", the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

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.

A child survivor is seen with relatives in a hospital near the Dead Sea, Jordan.

At least 17 schoolchildren and teachers have been killed and others injured after flash floods swept away their bus near the Dead Sea in Jordan. Gen. Farid al-Sharaa, speaking after nightfall as large spotlights illuminated the flooded area.

The low-lying Dead Sea area, part of the Jordan Valley, is prone to flash flooding when rain water rushes down from adjacent hills.

Unit 669 performs search and rescue operations in both military and civilian conditions - extracting wounded soldiers from war zones and transporting vehicle crash victims to hospitals.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz is now overseeing part of the rescue operation and visiting the injured.

Jordan's King Abdullah cancelled a trip to Bahrain to follow the rescue.

An official with Jordan's civil defence department told the Jordan Times newspaper the death toll was expected to increase.

The premier also telephoned the Minister of Interior and Municipalities and minister of Public Works and Housing and discussed means on how to deal with the incident with maximum attention and speed, and to provide the necessary mechanisms and manpower for the safety of students, teachers and citizens in the region.