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German schoolchildren cut off by tide rescued by Walmer RNLI lifeboat crew

Lifeboats News Release

A group of ten teenagers in danger of being completely cut off by the incoming tide have been rescued by volunteer lifeboat crew members from Walmer.

At 10.50am today (5 July) Dover coastguard asked the Walmer lifeboat crew to launch after reports that a commercial RIB pilot had picked up ten children from rocks between St Margaret’s Bay and Dover.

The volunteers launched their D-class lifeboat, Duggie Rodbard 11, at 11am and made their way to meet the RIB pilot, where they collected the children and took them back to the safety of the shore at St Margaret’s Bay.

The rescue echoes a similar incident just weeks ago where a group of Jewish children were cut off by the tide, and has prompted fresh calls from the RNLI’s Respect the Water campaign.

Walmer RNLI helmsman Brad Rebbeck explained: ‘When we arrived we found the pilot of a RIB had picked up a group of ten children who had been sat on rocks between St Margaret’s Bay and Dover as the tide was rapidly coming in. Apparently the children were school friends and their teacher had called the coastguard to ask for assistance.

‘We understand they had been playing on the beach and the rocks when the tide started coming in a lot faster than they thought it would, effectively cutting them off.

‘There were 3 boys, 7 girls, all aged around 14-15 years. When we started chatting to them, we realised they were German, and were visiting the UK on a school trip. We transferred them from the RIB onto the lifeboat and took them back to St Margaret’s Bay to the teacher.

‘We did try to find out more – for example, whether they had seen the signs telling people about the potential dangers of tides - but the language barrier made it quite hard to get the full facts.’

The rescue has prompted the RNLI to reiterate the safety messages of its Respect the Water campaign, which underpins the charity’s strategy to halve the number of accidental drownings around the UK by 2024.

Guy Addington, RNLI Community Incident Reduction Manager, said: ‘I’m pleased these children were recovered safe and well before any harm came to them. The RNLI will always launch to people in distress, whatever the reason, but we are trying to encourage people to do everything in their power to prevent getting into danger in the first place.

‘Incidents like this highlight how easy it can be to get cut off by the tide whilst out walking. 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, by sticking to marked paths and by checking local hazards and safety information, such as tide times, before setting out.’

More information and safety advice can be found at www.rnli.org.uk/respectthewater

RNLI media contacts

• Tim Ash, RNLI Public Relations Manager (London/East/South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252  tim_ash@rnli.org.uk
Sophie Coller-Nielsen Press Officer (London/East/South East), 0207 6207416, 07824 416615 email sophie_coller-nielsen@rnli.org.uk
• For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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