Jewish teens who were rescued from a beach in Dover after being trapped by the tide have raised 5,000 euro for the lifeboat station crew that saved them and are promising that more is to come, the British Jewish News reported Wednesday.
The 34 strictly-Orthodox teenagers and their families raised the funds just hours after they were rescued by a helicopter and lifeboats.
Following the incident, Shimon Cohen wrote to the Dover RNLI Lifeboat Station crew on behalf of the Ahvas Yisroel Community Centre in Stamford Hill, thanking them for their “swift action and heroism” which “ensured the safety of our boys”.
“Immediately after the incident, the boys’ parents began fundraising in our community in gratitude for your heroism and they have already raised £5,000”, the letter said, according to the Jewish News.
It added that “the boys will be organizing more fundraising events throughout the summer and I look forward to presenting you with additional funds in due course.”
The Dover RNLI Lifeboat crew thanked the teens and their families, writing on Twitter: “Without fundraising the @RNLI wouldn’t be able to save lives at sea.”
“Donations like these go a long way to support the 24/7 operational costs of the RNLI. Dover Lifeboat on average costs £210,000 to operate 24/7 per year, as an all weather Lifeboat and Walmer Lifeboat on average, costs £90,000 to operate 24/7 as an inshore Lifeboat station,” they added.
The hiking party, which included two adults, was plucked from a hazardous stretch of the coast with falling rocks after getting lost during a walk on Monday night. They raised the alarm with Kent Police after becoming disorientated as they followed a coastal path between St. Margaret’s Bay and Dover Harbour, according to the Jewish News.
The coastguard launched a search by air and sea for the haredim, with around 40 volunteers joining the “large-scale operation”.
After the incident, UK Coastguard senior maritime operations officer Richard Cockerill said, “The group was advised to switch on their mobile phone lights to help us locate them.
“The group was located by one of the Walmer lifeboats in an area of active cliff falls and also spotted by the helicopter using the forward-looking infra-red camera. All 36 people were recovered to safety by lifeboat and helicopter.”
Shomrim, the Jewish neighborhood watch organization which operates in north London, said several of its volunteers had gone to Dover to assist the group.
“Volunteers from Stamford Hill Shomrim were called by a group of people stranded near the Dover cliffs as night was falling,” said Chaim Hochhauser, supervisor at Stamford Hill Shomrim, according to the Jewish News.
“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,” he added.
When RNLI teams arrived at the scene they found the group had separated and four students were unaccounted for.
A small craft was launched to pick up the students in groups as crews searched for the missing teenagers, who were found after shouting to rescuers from the rocks.
By the end of the rescue mission, 31 of the walkers were rescued by lifeboat and taken ashore. The remaining five were lifted to safety by helicopter and flown to the Dover Coastguard station.