Two teenage boys have been reunited with their parents after getting lost on the Isle of Sheppey, prompting a search involving a lifeboat, helicopter and coastguard rescue team.
The 16 and 17 year olds became disorientated yesterday as they tried to find the way back to the holiday chalet where they were staying with family, and called 999 after six hours of wandering around.
They could give little information on their location, other than to say they were on a beach at the base of some cliffs, and the tide was coming in. They also gave the description of an emergency marker they had passed some hours before.
Thames Coastguard estimated their position and sent the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team, and the Whitstable Lifeboat. The Rescue Helicopter from RAF Wattisham was returning from an exercise in the area and so also went to help.
Within minutes of arriving on scene at 10.20pm, the helicopter located the boys, just a few kilometres from their estimated position. The boys were winched to a nearby landing site and then taken to their holiday park.
Thames Coastguard Watch Manager Aimee Rampton said: "This was a particularly challenging incident, as the only information the two boys could provide us with was the name of the island they were staying on.
"With no indication of their location, we had to launch an immediate search for the teenagers as they had become stranded on what we now was Leysdown Beach, with the tide coming in around them in the darkness, having been walking around for several hours.
"The boys were wet and cold and were very relieved to be found by the helicopter – the next challenge being for the coastguard rescue officers to try and find out where they were staying. Thankfully, at 10.55 pm the coastguard rescue team were able to locate their chalet and reunite them with their parents.”