Coastguards say four Chinese fishermen rescued off the Thanet coast after leaving Herne Bay are lucky to be alive, after setting sail without any decent safety equipment.
The men had caught so many fish that their vessel was close to sinking.
They left with no radio, no life jackets and a broken telephone.
Their only lifeline was an out-of-date flare which they used to alert coastguards when their boat’s engine failed off Palm Bay.
The men were rescued by Margate inshore lifeboat at around 10.30pm on Monday evening (September 21), after numerous 999 calls were made reporting red flares.
Pete Legg from Dover coastguard said: “The boat was drifting because it had no anchor and the men could have been swept further out to sea where they may have sunk. We could easily have been looking for four dead bodies on Tuesday morning.
“Luckily the flares worked, which is most unusual when they are out-of-date.”