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18 killed as school bus swept away in Jordan flash floods

By Daniel Uria
18 killed as school bus swept away in Jordan flash floods
Vehicles wade through rain water after a sudden thunderstorm, at a street in Amman, Jordan, on Thursday. At least 18 people, most of them children, died after flash floods swept away a school bus carrying students who were on a trip near the Dead Sea area. Photo by Andre Pain/EPA

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- At least 18 people died as the result of flash floods in Jordan, with most of the deaths coming from a school bus that was caught up in floodwaters.

The bus was carrying 37 students and seven staff members on a field trip to the Zara Maeen hot springs area when it was swept away by floodwaters.

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In all 34 people have been rescued and some are said to be in serious condition.

"A major rescue operation entailing scores of people from different state agencies as well as several rescue helicopters and boats, marine divers and swimmers are at the site now to rescue trapped people and search for missing ones," Jordan's Civil Defence Department said.

An official the Ministry of Education told the Jordan Times the children were from a private school and noted schools are required to receive approval from the ministry's activities department before planning a trip.

"It is odd indeed to hear of a school trip in October and when warnings of weather-related emergencies have been issued ahead of time by authorities," the official said.

The official added it wasn't immediately clear if the school received approval for the trip.

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Prime Minister Omar Razza instructed agencies to provide all needed assistance to ensure the safety of the students.

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