Nine Teenagers Victims of Negev Floodwaters

YERUSHALAYIM -
Military helicopter search for missing teenagers near the Dead Sea, Thursday. (Maor Kinsbursky/Flash90)

Nine youths from a premilitary academy in Tel Aviv were killed and one is still missing after being swept away in torrential floods Thursday afternoon during a hike in Nahal Tzafit, a riverbed in the Arava region, located east of the Dead Sea.

Thirteen other members of the group were found and retrieved by rescuers without harm. Two were lightly hurt. Magen David Adom and Zaka rescue services, along with police and IDF helicopters helped search for the missing students.

The IAF’s Elite 669 Search and Rescue Unit are searching for the missing student.

Medical personnel at the scene of the tragic flooding, Thursday afternoon. (Hatzalah and Fire Command Negev)

Witnesses said that the students dispersed in different directions in the rocky terrain when the floodwaters arrived. About half were able to climb up to higher ground, but the others were among those dead or missing.

The names of the deceased in the tragedy have not yet been released.

Israel has had heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours. Normally arid river beds that run from west to east and collect large amounts of water deposit torrents into the Dead Sea and the Rift Valley region that runs south along the Negev Desert.