An Unforgettable School Trip

In spring 2016, in the early evening hours, a group of high school girls were hiking in the Yagur Reserve, near Ein Gedi, when it started to get dark. Since there wasn’t any cell reception in the reserve, someone who knew the girls were hiking called the Rescue Unit because they were concerned from the lack of contact. The preliminary check clarified that it was a large group of girls but it was unclear how many were still in the stream and where exactly they were. The rescue team wasn’t going to take any chances and they immediately sent out as many volunteers as possible.

The first team started in Kibutz Yagur and hiked down the reserve until they came to a big waterfall right in the middle of the river, which is when the magnitude of the rescue challenge was revealed. There were 130 girls in the reserve, including a school teacher at the end of her 8th month of pregnancy, and it was completely dark with no means of lighting the way. The first team climbed up the waterfall and began to help  the girls down, one by one. Another team started walking with the girls who had already made it down, in the direction of the main road. Every two rescuers took a few girls with them, bringing them to a bus and then returned to the river to escort another few girls back. It took a long time as the river was slippery, steep and it was pitch dark outside. The girls were tired, scared and hungry.

Another team went into the reserve in a different direction and started scanning the entire length of the river to make sure that no one was lost or forgotten in the dark. Late at night, once everyone was on the bus (including the pregnant teacher, who had a rescue volunteer next to her the entire way), and they counted the girls twice,  everyone breathed a sigh of relief and they went home.

131 lives, and an unborn baby’s life, had been saved.