A Large Scale rescue operation involving Three Lifeboats a coastguard rescue team and a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter has been launched this evening to rescue 34 children and two adults who were cut off by the tide.
The lifeboats were launched just after 9.25pm after a called was made to the UK coastguard Operations Centre in Fareham via Kent Police.
The Three Lifeboats involved are the Dover RNLI,Walmer lifeboat and Coastguard rescue team are from Landon they are also being supported by a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter.
The rescue and recovery operation is taking place in the Landon Bay Area after the party are believed to have been cut off by the tide.
A Spokesperson from the MCA said :”At about 9.00 this evening (6 June) Kent Police asked the UK Coastguard for assistance in a search and rescue operation after a large group of children and two adults reported they were lost on the beach. The large groups were unsure of their exact location but they were believed to be in the vicinity of St Margaret’s Bay and Dover harbour.
The UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lydd, Dover RNLI lifeboat, two Walmer RNLI lifeboats, Langdon Coastguard Rescue Team and the Ambulance service have been sent to the area.”
UK Coastguard Senior Maritime Operations Officer Richard Cockerill said: ‘When we received the call, Dover lifeboat, two lifeboats from Walmer, the Coastguard rescue helicopter and Langdon Coastguard Rescue Team were tasked to locate the school party from London. 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 thirty six people were recovered to safety by lifeboat and helicopter.’
Alex Brown, Winch Operator for the UK Coastguard search and rescue helicopter based at Lydd said: ‘The FLIR camera was working fantastically so we were able to locate the group quickly. The majority were rescued by lifeboat however, we did land on some rocks to rescue five people and brought them back to Dover Coastguard station.’
The Coxswain of Dover RNLI, Mark Finnis, said: ‘The group were caught out by a rising tide. Thankfully the quick and well co-ordinated search and rescue response meant all thirty six casualties were rescued and were lucky to escape without serious injuries, but they’ve had a traumatic experience.’