Captain Berger 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The life of a teenage boy sailing in Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) was
saved last week by an alert person in Haifa who received a phone call from a
friend in Tiberias.
The observer in Tiberias mentioned in passing during
the phone conversation that in the fading sunlight, he thought he saw the boy
and an adult, presumably his father, drifting in a kayak far out in waters of
The man in Haifa telephoned Naftali Tottenberg, coordinator of
the local United Hatzalah Farkas Haifa Division, to share his friend’s
Farkas immediately contacted the voluntary rescue organization’s
regional dispatcher, Shai Almakim, who triangulated communication between the
observer on the beach and United Hatzalah’s water rescue unit.
the darkness and the evening swells, the rescue unit raced to the beach to
assist with the rescue efforts. Sharp-eyed water rescue commander Yossi Oknin was
running grid patterns on the brand-new Captain Berger II rescue boat with his
searchlights on when he made a final sweep of the area and his attention was
caught by something in the distance.
He maneuvered the rescue boat toward
the movement and spotted a 17-year-old boy barely treading water 2 kilometers
out between to the Shikmim and Bernicki beaches.
The father, who also
fell from the kayak, had safely reached shore.
Oknin and fellow rescuer
Moshe Trebelsi hauled in the barely conscious teen. After initial fluid
replacement therapy on the boat and additional care from the medics on the beach
he was released. The boy, an experienced swimmer, mentioned that he had gone
swimming in the late afternoon and an undertow had carried him far from the
He had been in the water for nearly three hours after falling out
of the kayak and probably wouldn’t have survived for more than a few minutes
before drowning. His parents thanked the “angels in orange” on land and in the
water who had saved their son.