Pupils trapped on English beach used phones as beacons

Dozens of English schoolchildren trapped on a beach by the rising tide were rescued by helicopter and lifeboats after using their mobile phones as distress beacons.

The 34 teenagers were plucked from a hazardous stretch of the coast often beset by falling rocks after getting lost during a walk on Monday night, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

The hiking party from the Ahavas Yisroel Community Centre in London, which included two adults, raised the alarm with Kent Police at around 9pm after becoming disorientated as they followed a coastal path between St Margaret’s Bay and Dover Harbour.

The Coastguard launched a search by air and sea involving a helicopter based at Lydd, Dover RNLI lifeboat, two Walmer RNLI lifeboats and Langdon Coastguard Rescue Team.

Around 40 volunteers joined the “large-scale operation”.

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.”


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