Meirav Lapidot
Meirav LapidotYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Police Spokesperson Meirav Lapidot said that the tragic drowning of nine students from a pre-military academy on Thursday could have been prevented had they listened to police instructions not to hike in the rain-ravaged area.

"The group of youths went on a trip to Nahal Tzafit despite our repeated warnings not to travel in the southern valleys," Lapidot told the Reshet Bet radio station.

"It's a terrible tragedy and it's easy to avoid such disasters. All you have to do is listen to instructions," she added. "We are issuing many warnings all the time, and it is unfortunate that we have reached this situation."

Nine Israeli students were killed on Thursday after they were swept away by sudden flash floods while while they were hiking in Nahal Tzafit in the Judean Desert west of the Dead Sea. A

Search and rescue teams, aided by helicopter units, converged on the area, locating 24 of the students. The 669 Search and Rescue unit of the Israeli Air Force was deployed to assist the efforts to locate the missing students. Diving teams were also deployed to aid in the search.

On the way to the scene we drove past large puddles and flooding on the road,” said MDA emergency first responder Eitan Shlomo.

“With the help of 4 X 4 vehicles we were able to arrive. We joined the MDA crews at the scene next to the entrance to the river and we treated and evacuated 2 17-year-olds suffering from injuries to their faces, limbs and heads. They were rescued by IDF airforce helicopters. They were evacuated to Soroka Hospital in light to moderate condition."