Nahal Tzafit, where 10 students died in a flood, is a popular canyon trail
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Nahal Tzafit, where 10 students died in a flood, is a popular canyon trail

Extending for over 15 kilometers, the steep-walled route is prone to flash-flooding caused by rain in hills to the west

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The canyon trail where 10 youths were killed Thursday is a popular hiking route known for a canyon with steep rock walls that cuts through the northeastern Negev and southern Judean Desert.

Nahal Tzafit is a riverbed that runs from some 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Mishor Yamin to the the Makhtesh HaKatan, a geological landform crater, before reaching the southern Dead Sea

The river is best known for its lower section, where hikers pass through the narrow, high-walled canyon.

Like many riverbed trails in the area, it is prone to flash floods caused by rainfall in the hills to the west.

The 10 fatalities — nine girls and one boy — were high school students on a field trip organized by a premilitary academy they had applied to. They were swept away in a torrential flood while hiking in the river bed.

Fifteen others were rescued, and two required medical treatment.

Hadashot TV news broadcast a video clip shot taken by a hiker barely two hours before the tragedy, showing the dry, boulder-strewn canyon.

The flash floods in the are notorious for the speed with which they arrive, giving little or no warning at all to hikers in the area.

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