(October 26, 2018 / JNS) The Israel Defense Forces are assisting with the search-and-rescue efforts of Jordanian schoolchildren and teachers who were swept away on Thursday by sudden rains as they were on a field trip at the hot springs near Dead Sea.
There have been at least 18 dead and 35 injured, according to Jordan, which requested IDF assistance.
The Israeli Air Force deployed helicopters full of IDF search & rescue soldiers to Jordan. They assisted in the rescue of a bus of Jordanian children that was swept away in floods on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. This assistance was requested by the Jordanian Government pic.twitter.com/47yqTigdvg
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) October 25, 2018
According to Brig.-Gen. Farid al-Sharaa, 13 people escaped without injuries, as 37 middle-school students, seven teachers and other visitors were at the hot springs, some eating lunch, when they were surprised by the unexpected flooding.
“It swept away the students for 4 to 5 kilometers [about 2.5 to 3.1 miles],” said Al-Sharaa.
“The students were on a school trip, and it appears that a mudslide along the road swept their bus away,” a civil defense official told The Times of Israel.
The IDF said “soldiers are assisting in the search-and-rescue efforts for the missing and are doing all they can, despite the weather conditions, to assist the survivors in the flood area.”
Additionally, Israeli police dispatched a group of medical specialists, in addition to the civilian Megillot search-and-rescue unit. The groups returned to Israel, although they stayed on alert.
This development comes as relations between Jordan and Israel have been tense, after Jordan’s King Abdullah announced that it will not renew parts of a 1994 peace treaty that leases two areas on the Jordan River to Israel.