Published: 13:23, 11 July 2019
| Updated: 13:31, 11 July 2019
A man has described the terrifying moment he and his girlfriend had to be rescued after their jet ski burst into flames.
Dean Goodger was riding between Herne Bay and Reculver with his girlfriend on Saturday afternoon when the smell of burning started emanating from the vehicle’s engine.
When the 49-year-old lifted the seat up to investigate, billows of smoke poured out from the water bike’s motor.
He said: “When I saw the smoke pouring out I thought, ‘oh s***, we’re on fire. What am I going to do?’
“I put the seat back down straight away to try to hold it in – I didn’t want the fire to grow. I’d just filled it up with £50 of fuel.
“Luckily the petrol tank is at the front of the ski and not the back – otherwise it would have gone bang. It would have been a lot worse if that had gone up.”
As the pair tried to phone the coastguard, they realised the jet ski was sinking.
Mr Goodger, from Dartford, leapt into the sea and attempted to stop the bike submerging.
“My girlfriend eventually had to get off as well because it was starting to roll over,” he said.
“It was quite dangerous and it was shocking how quickly it sank.”
The couple tried to wave to other jet-skiers for help, but were unable to get their attention.
Ten minutes later, a passer-by soon saw the pair and ferried Mr Goodger’s shocked girlfriend to the beach.
“My girlfriend was holding a box with our phones in and was trying to swim to shore with one hand,” he said.
“I told the bloke to pick her up and take her to shore first. I was mainly worried about her.
“I had to stay with my ski because I didn’t want it to sink – that would have been £4,500 going to the bottom of the sea.”
'It ruined our weekend. We were only going to go to the beach at Reculver to have a barbecue' - Dean Goodger
Mr Goodger believes the blaze was caused by a split in the exhaust hose.
He is also critical of the response of the RNLI and coastguard - but the agencies say they reacted as quickly as they could.
Mike Judge, lifeboat operations manager at Whitstable RNLI said: “After only 15 minutes, we arrived off central Herne Bay and commenced a search for the stricken craft.
“With other jet skis in the area it was not immediately apparent where the casualty was located.
“Four minutes later, we were informed it was now ashore at Bishopstone so the lifeboat attended there.”
Kaimes Beasley from the coastguard added: “The coastguard rescue team is a volunteer service and so we notify members through electronic means.
“They arrived as soon as possible. But in this instance I don’t see any undue delays.”
Despite being shaken by the ordeal, the couple declined first aid when they made it to the beach.
“My girlfriend was shocked and a bit shaken because she hates the sea,” Mr Goodger added. “I was a little bit shaken.
“It ruined our weekend. We were only going to go to the beach at Reculver to have a barbecue.”