Two teenage boys who called the Coastguard after wandering around lost and disorientated on the Isle of Sheppey for six hours were reunited with their parents this evening after a search involving a lifeboat, helicopter and coastguard rescue team.
Thames Coastguard received the 999 call at 9.30 pm from the two boys, aged 16 and 17, who were staying with family on the Isle of Sheppey but had become lost trying to find their way back to their chalet. They told the Coastguard that they had been wandering for six hours, and had stopped to ask people for directions, but had become totally disorientated and could give little information on their location except to say that they were on a beach at the base of some cliffs. 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, also requesting the launch of the Whitstable RNLI Lifeboat. The Rescue Helicopter from RAF Wattisham was returning from an exercise in the area and so refuelled and also proceeded to the same location, arriving on scene at 10.20 pm. Within minutes of arriving on scene the helicopter located the boys, just a few kilometres from their estimated position. They transported the two teenagers to a nearby landing site where they were met by the coastguard rescue team, who, after discussions with the boys, managed to ascertain the holiday park where they were staying and take them there to be reunited with their parents.
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.”