9 teens dead, several wounded and 1 missing in flash floods

At least nine high school students have died and several others were wounded when their field trip was disrupted by flash floods. One teen remains missing.

By: World Israel News Staff

At least nine high school students have died and several others went missing on Thursday when the field trip they were on in the south of the country was disrupted by flash floods.

The group of 25 high school students from the Bnei Zion pre-military academy in Tel Aviv was hiking at the Tsafit stream in the Arava valley, near the Dead Sea, when the area was hit by massive flooding.

Some students managed to escape to high grounds, while others were swept by the floods.

Rescue units, including the IDF’s 669 Search and Rescue Unit, were alerted to scene.

Sheba Hospital in Be’er Sheva has prepared special teams to treat the victims.

Police are investigating why the school did not cancel the trip, despite the dangerous weather conditions.

“The group of youths went on a trip to Nahal Tzafit despite our repeated warnings not to travel in the southern valleys. It’s a terrible tragedy and it’s easy to avoid such disasters. All you have to do is listen to instructions,” Israel Police spokeswoman Meirav Lapidot said.

Read  Israeli government scrambles to improve earthquake preparedness

On Wednesday, a 16-year-old Bedouin boy slipped and fell into a river in the south. He was later recovered and pronounced dead. Also that day, a teenage girl from a Palestinan village in the Bethlehem Governate was swept away by a flash flood while tending her sheep and died.

“I commend the security and rescue forces that are now working to save lives and locate the missing in the terrible disaster that took place today in Nahal Tzafit. We are all praying for better news,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israel has been experiencing unseasonal, intense weather in the past couple of days, including torrential rains and powerful winds. The stormy weather is expected to subside over the weekend.