At least nine teens are in thought to have died and one remains missing after being caught in a flash flood during a hike in a riverbed near the Dead Sea.
About 25 teens from a pre-army preparatory course were hiking in Nahal Tzafit on Thursday afternoon when the flooding began. Some 15 were rescued mostly unharmed.
Apache helicopters reportedly are searching the area and divers are preparing to go into the stream to find missing hikers.
The Ministry of Education had warned schools not to hike in the area, according to Channel 10 news.
“We are doing all we can to find those still missing,” police spokeswoman Meirav Lapidot told reporters. “Some have been rescued and some are still out there.
“We will keep going until we find them all. We are preparing for a long night of search and rescue operations.”
Yaakov Yifrah, ZAKA volunteer from Dimona: “This is a very difficult scene, with a number of dead students. ZAKA teams and rescue units are in the valley, helping in the search and recovery efforts. Another ZAKA team is at the entrance to the valley, to take care of the bodies. The ZAKA volunteers are ready and prepared to continue the search, rescue and recovery mission into the night.”
Heavy rain fell in southern Israel on Wednesday and Thursday, and throughout the country, which is unusual for this time of year.
Two teens, a Bedouin and a Palestinian, died in flash floods on Wednesday, according to reports.