9 hikers killed in Dead Sea flash floods, Israel medical services say

Hugh Fox
April 30, 2018

On Tuesday, two people died in floods in the southern part of the country.

The trip was not under the auspices of the Education Ministry or the Defense Ministry, The Times of Israel reported.

Nine girls and one boy, majority aged 17 or 18, were swept away to their deaths yesterday when flash floods engulfed Nahal Tzafit, a riverbed canyon in the Arava region, south of the Dead Sea.

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After an alarm was raised on Thursday afternoon, the police, along with the air force and local search and rescue teams launched a huge search operation for the missing teenagers.

Earlier, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said 25 students in a pre-army course were "caught off guard" and some were "washed away" by heavy rains while they were hiking in the area. According to the reports, rescue workers, soldiers and volunteers in helicopters, jeeps and rubber boats and on foot frantically searched for the missing teenager.

They belonged to a pre-military academy, according to Israeli politician Yehuda Glick, who met with the school's staff and students on Thursday. However, heavy rainfall over the last two days flooded the area.

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement about the flood on Twitter, saying, "Our thoughts and prayers go to our brothers, children, our loved ones, and those in danger".

Police spokeswoman Meirav Lapidot told reporters before the announcement of the dead teens, "We will keep going until we find them all. We painfully embrace the grief-stricken families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured", Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted. The main question being asked was why the group had chose to continue with the hike in an area known for flash floods.

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