Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Kissimmee, FL - Missing Miami Girls Express Gratitude From Their Hospital Beds

Published on: April 10, 2016 06:10 PM
Change text size Text Size  
16 Year old Rivka Moshe recovering at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando on April 10, 2016.16 Year old Rivka Moshe recovering at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando on April 10, 2016.

Kissimmee, FL - The two North Miami girls who went missing yesterday after a Shabbos walk gone awry told their rescuers that hearing helicopters circling overhead in the darkness provided them with much needed reassurance and hope during a chilly Florida night spent lost in swamp-filled woods.

16 year olds Bracha Katz and Rivka Moshe, tenth graders at the Lubavitch Educational Center’s Beis Chana High School in Miami, were enjoying a school wide Shabbos retreat at a vacation property in Kissimmee when the pair failed to return after going out to enjoy a walk on Shabbos afternoon, as previously reported on VIN News.

“There was a lake behind the building and the girls went for a walk,” Elan Moshe, Rivka’s father, told VIN News.  “My daughter fell down and her friend tried to help her up.  They weren’t able to go back the way they came so they kept walking and they got lost.”

The farther the two walked the more difficult the terrain became, according to Mark Rosenberg, director of Florida’s Chesed Shel Emes and a chaplain for the Florida Highway Patrol.

“They ended up in a bad area full of bushes and thorns,” said Rosenberg. “They walked all through the afternoon, listening for the sounds of cars and motorcycles, but the more they walked the farther they got into the swamp,” said Rosenberg.

16 year old Bracha Katz at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando on April 10, 2016.16 year old Bracha Katz at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando on April 10, 2016.

At some points the swamp was so deep the girls were chin deep in the murky water and they realized that they needed to get to higher ground.  They climbed up a small tree which broke and continued their quest to find dry land. As night fell the pair began to get nervous.

“They had no food, no water, nothing and they had no idea what kind of raccoons or other animals might be nearby,” said Rosenberg.  “They tried to stay awake but what gave them the most support was hearing the choppers that kept coming.  They climbed up another tree and tried to wave but no one was able to see them.”

By daybreak numerous agencies had converged on the scene including members of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hatzolah of Miami and Florida’s Chesed Shel Emes, with personnel from Governor Rick Scott’s office working all through the night to make all the necessary resources available for the search.

When the helicopters returned again in the morning, the teens once again tried waving to attract attention. Having spotted the girls, the helicopters went to relay their position to the rescuers who were ready to comb the woods and after refueling, the helicopters worked in tandem with ground crews to pinpoint the girls’ location, dropping a note to the teens bearing the words, “Stay put.  We are coming to you.”

Mark Rosenberg, director of Florida’s Chesed Shel Emes and a chaplain for the Florida Highway Patrol with a group of volunteers who helped in the search and rescue.Mark Rosenberg, director of Florida’s Chesed Shel Emes and a chaplain for the Florida Highway Patrol with a group of volunteers who helped in the search and rescue.

“There was no path,” said Rosenberg.  “We had to use chainsaw just to make a path.  Hatzolah was digging and digging.  By the time we got within 50 yards of the girls we could hear them but still couldn’t see them.  They were able to tell us their names so we were at least able to make a positive identification.”

The overhead helicopters continued working with the teams on the ground directing them to the girls and dropping the girls kosher food, water and shoes.

Rescuers were just 20 yards from the girls when they found themselves in dangerously deep water that was determined to be 25 feet deep, forcing them to find another path to the two teens. 

After approaching from a different direction, rescuers were able to clear a path all the way to the two 16 year olds who were able to walk out of the woods on their own, two hours after they were initially identified by members of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department.

The note rescuers dropped to the missing dropping bearing the words, “Stay put.  We are coming to you.”The note rescuers dropped to the missing dropping bearing the words, “Stay put.  We are coming to you.”

The girls, who were covered in cuts and scratches from their night in the densely wooded forest, were taken to a staging area to freshen up before they were taken to a second location for a tearful meeting with their parents, who had driven up from Miami to Orlando late last night.

“It was probably the most indescribable reunion I have ever seen,” said Rosenberg.

The two were taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando approximately 30 miles away and were released shortly thereafter.

In a phone interview with VIN News, both girls said that will be staying home from school tomorrow, starting their Pesach vacation two days earlier than scheduled.

Asked how she felt after her long ordeal, Rivka Moshe said, “I am thanking G-d,” adding that she doesn’t remember much of her ordeal.

Bracha Katz’s sentiments were brief but heartfelt when asked if she wanted to address the many people throughout the Jewish community who prayed for safe return.

“Thank you,” said Bracha Katz, from her hospital bed.

Bracha’s father, Rabbi Yisroel Katz, said that the thought of living without his daughter was incomprehensible throughout the long night.

“It was very scary but we had bitachon,” said Rabbi Katz.  “It was out of the question not to think anything but ‘tracht gut vet zayn gut.’”

Rosenberg noted that there are lessons to be learned from this frightening episode that thankfully, had a happy ending.

“This was a deep swamp and it is a miracle that they got out okay,” said Rosenberg. “But the girls told us that they weren’t worried and they knew they would be okay because of the helicopters they heard at night.

It gave them chizuk so it just goes to show you that if you think someone is out there, shine the lights, call their names and keep on trying, because those choppers psychologically gave the girls the energy to continue and they knew that once they heard them all they had to do was stay put and someone would come and find them.”

group of volunteers who helped in the search and rescue. group of volunteers who helped in the search and rescue.

More of today's headlines

Harrisburg, PA - A Pennsylvania Turnpike toll collector who survived a botched robbery attempt last month that left three people dead said she was terrified but her... Washington - Donald Trump is blasting a "corrupt" election system for complicating his path to the Republican nomination. Trump tells a crowd of thousands of...

 

Advertisement:
Total15

Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 10, 2016 at 06:24 PM Frish Says:

מי כעמך ישראל גוי "אחד" בארץ

2

 Apr 10, 2016 at 06:40 PM ad Says:

Great work Mark.
Keep it up along all other Chesed activity's

3

 Apr 10, 2016 at 09:31 PM charliehall Says:

Baruch HaShem

4

 Apr 10, 2016 at 11:09 PM Eli Says:

Reply to #1  
Frish Says:

מי כעמך ישראל גוי "אחד" בארץ

We all thank G-d the girls are ok, but why must you display your crass tribalism with the "mi k'amcha Yisroel" Comment? This was a rescue effort that crossed all ethnic and religious lines, with both Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers, law enforcement personnel, and government officials working tirelessly to locate and rescue the girls. How about a little hakaras hatov to all who participated?

5

 Apr 10, 2016 at 11:10 PM KeliLeeba Says:

B'H! I could not sleep for one moment last night thinking of these young girls outside. So, along with a group of other sleepless women, we recited tehillim. This is klal yisrael - all one people. I am so very grateful that Ha'shem preserved them from great harm. Truly this was a Nissan miracle.

6

 Apr 10, 2016 at 11:41 PM Anonymous Says:

I guess it will be a special Pesach Yom tov for these family's. Baruch hashem this had a happy ending!

7

 Apr 11, 2016 at 12:56 AM savtainsandiego Says:

Yasher Koach to all the people involved in the Search and Rescue operation. Baruch Hashem both girls are okay. Thank you to everyone who davened and said Tehillim on their behalf. May everyone enjoy Chag Pesach Kosher v'Samayach.

8

 Apr 11, 2016 at 07:37 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Eli Says:

We all thank G-d the girls are ok, but why must you display your crass tribalism with the "mi k'amcha Yisroel" Comment? This was a rescue effort that crossed all ethnic and religious lines, with both Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers, law enforcement personnel, and government officials working tirelessly to locate and rescue the girls. How about a little hakaras hatov to all who participated?

Crass tribalism? Do you hate your fellow Jews that much?

If hundreds of "amcha" wouldn't have joined in the search, the non-Jewish volunteers, law enforcement personnel, and government officials would have been undermanned and the girls might not have been found in time, ChV"Sh.

9

 Apr 11, 2016 at 08:21 AM anonymous Says:

Hodu laShem ki tov ki le'olam chasdo. They surely have something to bentch gomel for.

10

 Apr 11, 2016 at 08:21 AM yid18 Says:

Reply to #4  
Eli Says:

We all thank G-d the girls are ok, but why must you display your crass tribalism with the "mi k'amcha Yisroel" Comment? This was a rescue effort that crossed all ethnic and religious lines, with both Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers, law enforcement personnel, and government officials working tirelessly to locate and rescue the girls. How about a little hakaras hatov to all who participated?

Whilst it's true non Jews participated as well, but only "Ameche" all over the world stayed up all night reciting Tehillim and doing whatever they possibly could spiritually to help bring this nightmare to its happy conclusion! ONLY "Ameche" did that! That's why it stands out as truly "MI KEAMCHO YISROEL"!!!!!!

11

 Apr 11, 2016 at 09:01 AM zelig Says:

"Crass tribalism?" Interesting that not one news outlet in Orlando had this item throughout the search and rescue. People were googling and didn't find anything.

It was a true Nissan (two noons) - nissei nissim - miracle!

12

 Apr 11, 2016 at 09:28 AM Yossel Says:

The true miracle is that they weren't attacked by alligators while they were traversing the swamps.

13

 Apr 11, 2016 at 09:29 AM hashomer Says:

Bruce HaShem. Each of the rescue groups and the helicopter crews should be personally thanked!

14

 Apr 11, 2016 at 10:01 AM allmark Says:

Baruch HaShem they were found but we need to teach our children that if they are lost, stop moving and stay put. Walking deeper into a swamp where the water is up to their chins is clearly not a good idea.

15

 Apr 11, 2016 at 01:15 PM savtat Says:

Truth is, when we get a call for Tehillim, we stop whatever we are doing and imagine that these children are our own and daven with all our hearts. B"H, the result was wonderful.

16

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!