A school trip to Britain’s picturesque south coast nearly turned tragic when 34 Orthodox teenage boys from London and their two teachers were trapped by rising tides and had to be plucked to safety Monday night.
The trapped teens were forced signal for help with the light from their cell phones after ignoring danger signs and becoming trapped among the cliffs.
On a trip organized by the Ahvas Yisroel community centre in North London, the group of 13- and 14-year-old boys and their teachers went on a walk down a stretch of coastal road between St. Margaret’s Bay and Dover Beach in Kent, according to an article by Jewish News. As the day came to an end and the tide started to rise, the boys and their teachers became trapped among one of the cliffs.
By 9:27 p.m.., the group started calling for help to the Kent Police, said RNLI’s Dover Beach Lifeboat Station on Twitter. Upon arrival, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Kent told the group to use the light from their cell phones to indicate their location.
Dover Lifeboat paged at 21:27 and launched on service please do not contact the boathouse. More info to follow soon. pic.twitter.com/TVpiFo7WT9— Dover Lifeboat (@RNLIDover) June 6, 2016
“We are hugely grateful to the coastguard whose swift actions ensured that everyone was returned to shore safe and well,” a spokesperson from the group told the BBC. “A full internal investigation will be held to ascertain the facts and understand the lessons to be learned.”
Volunteers were “liaising with @kent_police and families of hikers that got lost in the Dover Cliffs,” said Shomrim, a Jewish neighborhood watch organization in North London, in a tweet.
Liaising with @kent_police and families of hikers that got lost in Dover Cliffs. Rescue boats and helicopter located all hikers. 1 airlifted— Shomrim - London (@Shomrim) June 6, 2016
By 11 p.m., 31 members of the group were rescued immediately by lifeboat while the rest had to be airlifted by helicopter after separating from the rest of the group and becoming trapped in a more isolated part of the road.
Mark Finnis, coxswain of Dover Royal National Lifeboat Institution, told the BBChttp://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-36466422 that the group ignored “nine warning signs” that informed them not to take that particular stretch of road.
“None of the people we took on board our lifeboat were dressed in any attire that you would associate with clambering over rocks,” said Finnis.
No one among the group’s 36 people was injured or required a hospital visit, said the UK Coastguard.
All home safe and sound thanks to @RNLI@doverhour@Port_of_Dover@DoverDCpic.twitter.com/C9QXN3Uhty— Nicholas Hill (@kernowsailing) June 6, 2016
In a series of tweets released in response to the incident, Port of Dover Travel said that it was “pleased to see coordinated response in bringing people safely ashore” but hoped that the situation would serve as a lesson to “stay safe” around water.
Pleased to see coordinated response bringing people safely ashore. Well done to Coastguard & local RNLI crew. 1/2— Port of Dover (@Port_of_Dover) June 6, 2016
Lessons to us all to be careful around water and check tidal information, particularly at this time of year. Stay safe 2/2— Port of Dover (@Port_of_Dover) June 6, 2016