Jordan Flood Sweeps Away Students, 18 Dead

At least 18 people have been killed after flash floods swept away a group of teachers and students visiting hot springs near the Dead Sea, Jordan's state media said.

The private school students and their adult chaperones were caught off guard when sudden torrential rains unleashed a flood surge, the reports said.

At least 34 people were rescued in a dramatic operation on Thursday involving helicopters, marine divers, swimmers and boats, according to the website of the Jordan Times.

After nightfall, huge spotlights were trained on the search area. Late on Thursday, 10 more students and a teacher were found and awaiting rescue, media reports said.

Israel's military said it also sent helicopters carrying a rescue team. Prime Minister Omar Razzaz rushed to the scene, overseeing part of the rescue operation and visiting the wounded at an area hospital.

As the death toll continued to rise, Jordan's King Abdullah II announced that he cancelled a visit to Bahrain, which had been scheduled for Friday.