At least 17 students have died after a landslide near a popular tourist site in north of Indonesia's Sumatra island.

The students were part of a group of 70 people visiting the Dua Warna waterfall at Sibolangit.

The tragedy occurred on Sunday but more than 300 people, including police, soldiers and rescuers from the National Search and Rescue Agency are involved in the search for three students and two guides who are reported as missing.

Very heavy rain has affected many of the 3,000 plus islands of the archipelago in recent days. Although the islands have a reputation for being wet for much of the year, the rainfall during the past few days has been exceptional.

It has happened at what should just be the start of the south monsoon, which occurs between May and September. But the fact that some areas have seen more than one month’s worth of rain in 24 hours suggests other influences at play.

So far, the nation’s capital, Jakarta, has escaped the flooding. The city is prone to inundation by rainwater as the rapid growth and poor infrastructure combine to prevent water draining away.

In the next few days further torrential rain is expected across both Sumatra and Borneo.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies