Stamford Hill teens 'lucky to be alive' after Dover rescue
PUBLISHED: 10:42 07 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:44 09 June 2016
Dozens of Stamford Hill schoolchildren are "lucky to be alive" after being rescued from the base of the Dover cliffs last night.
The 34 teenagers and two adults were trapped by the rising tide on a hazardous stretch of the coast with falling rocks after getting lost during a walk on a day out with the Ahavat Yisrael Community Centre.
The group raised the alarm with Kent Police at about 9pm after becoming disorientated on a path between St Margaret’s Bay and Dover Harbour.
The coastguard sent a helicopter from Lydd, the Dover RNLI lifeboat, two Walmer RNLI lifeboats and the Langdon Coastguard Rescue Team.
About 40 volunteers took part in the large scale rescue, including members of Stamford Hill Jewish neighbourhood watch group Shomrim, who travelled down to assist.
Chaim Hochhauser, Shomrim supervisor, said: “Volunteers were called by a group of people stranded near the Dover cliffs as night was falling.
“Several 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.”
The group had been told by the coastguard to turn their mobile phone lights on to help with the search and were found by one of the Walmer lifeboats in an area of active cliff falls.
Four people were missing when the RNLI teams arrived, but were eventually found after shouting from the rocks.
Five of the group had to be rescued by helicopter, while the other 31 were taken ashore by lifeboat.
In a video posted by the Shomrim on Twitter, south east coastguard commander Matt Pavitt said the outcome of search and rescue missions on this stretch of coast was usually very different.
He said: “I’d just like to reiterate how lucky the group have been this evening, they are very lucky to be alive from that area.
“More often than not the story from that area is very different and people lose their lives.
“It’s an incredibly lucky story and we hope that in future people heed the safety advice and read the safety signs.”
The Ahavat Yisrael community centre has issued a statement on the rescue thanking the coastguard and promising a “full internal investigation” into what happened.