Police officers at entrance to Bnei Tzion academy
Police officers at entrance to Bnei Tzion academy Kobi Richter/TPS

Israel Police have launched an investigation into the deaths of 10 Israeli teenagers during a hike in southern Israel Thursday.

On Thursday afternoon, a group of 25 students from the pre-army preparatory academy Bnei Tzion in Tel Aviv were hit by a flash flood while hiking in Nahal Tzafit, just west of the Dead Sea.

While search and rescue teams were able to rescue 15 of the students, 10 others perished, including 9 teenage girls and one teenage boy. All of the victims were 18 years old.

A police spokeswoman noted Thursday that the organizers of the fateful trip led the hike despite warnings not to travel in the area due to an elevated flood risk.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the disaster, and have questioned three staff members in connection with the hike.

Two of the three have been placed under arrest, while the third was released to house arrest.

“As part of the examination of the tragic incident in the south when students were killed in flash floods, an ongoing investigation is taking place by police in the south,” a police spokesperson said Friday.

“Police questioned three staff members from the academy that organized the trip. Two of the staff members remain under arrest, a third staff member remains under house arrest. The investigation continues.”