Published: Mon, April 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Police flash flood rescue operations after heavy rain

Police flash flood rescue operations after heavy rain

At least nine Israeli teenagers died Thursday after being swept away in a sudden flood in the Negev desert.

Police said they would open an investigation into the incident to understand why the group proceeded with their hike in such intense weather conditions, the Times reported.

The hikers were all 17- and 18-year-olds on a bonding trip ahead of entering the pre-military academy in September.

Of the nine teenagers who lost their lives, eight were female and one was male.

One student is still missing.

Magen David Adom CEO Eli Bin told an Israeli radio station that the rescue teams are "racing against the clock to save lives".

Army rescue helicopters and the fire brigade's diving unit are searching for the missing hiker, believed to be a young woman. The other 15 students were rescued. He said Israel "embraces" the grieving families and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was kept abreast by phone, said, "We are all praying for better news".

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. We will keep going until we find them all", she said earlier, when several of the students were being treated as missing.

Rains and hail pummeled Israel on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to an additional four reported deaths by the Palestinian Authority, as well as numerous viral videos and images of severe flooding and hail buildup around the country. "I ask you all, please follow the instructions of the police and rescue forces and be attentive to them".

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