Lost U.K. Bachurim Rescued by Coast Guard

Shomrim volunteers waiting by the lifeboat in Dover. (Shomrim)
Shomrim volunteers waiting by the lifeboat in Dover. (Shomrim Stamford Hill)

A group of 36 bachurim and adult volunteers from the Ahavas Yisroel Community Centre in the London neighborhood of Stamford Hill were rescued Monday evening when a coastal hike went badly wrong. The group was enjoying a walk near the town of Dover, when they realized they were lost and at risk of being stranded on a beach, with the tide rapidly coming in.

The group called the emergency services and reported themselves as lost, and the Coast Guard and Royal National Lifeboat Services immediately came to the rescue, mobilizing life boats and a helicopter with sophisticated equipment, which was able to locate them. A small group of bachurim who had become separated from the rest of the party was airlifted to safety.

The rescuers commented on the high spirits of the boys, which was a credit to the volunteers with them, who were able to keep the boys from worrying too much about their situation.

A spokesman for the community center said, “We are hugely grateful to the coast guard, whose swift actions ensured that everyone was returned to shore safe and well. A full internal investigation will be held to ascertain the facts and understand the lessons to be learned.”

Members of the group also contacted Shomrim, some of whose volunteers traveled to Dover to assist in any way they could. Chaim Hochhauser, supervisor of Shomrim Stamford Hill, said, “Several Shomrim volunteers drove down from London to support the group and liaised with parents and families throughout the incident, which thankfully ended well, thanks to the great work by RNLI and HM Coastguard.”

James Salmon, deputy launching authority at Dover lifeboat station, said, “As we approach the summer with lighter evenings, this incident highlights how easy it can be to get cut off by the tide whilst out walking. The group also faced the dangers of cliff falls along this iconic stretch of coastline.

“Surprisingly, the biggest risk when enjoying our coastline can be activities such as coastal walking and running. It’s easy to get caught out by unexpected tides and waves. We encourage people to keep themselves safe and treat water with respect by staying away from cliff edges and areas prone to cliff falls, sticking to marked paths and checking local hazards and safety information, such as tide times, before setting out.”