A vicious attack on a group of friends left one needing reconstructive surgery to his face after his head was repeatedly jumped on.
Up to 15 youths, thought to be armed with knifes, bars and blocks of wood, attacked a group of people on Leysdown beach just before midnight on Friday.
One of the victims, from Medway, was transferred to a specialist unit at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead with severe facial injuries.
A 19-year-old, who was attacked but did not want to be named, said the problems started after another group started making comments and asking questions about the girls they were with.
He said: “We shouted to the girls to run away and then they battered us in the dark with wood, and I think one of them had a knife because he told the others to get their blades out.”
Five men, aged between 18 and 20, were attacked. The 19-year-old suffered a slashed wrist and managed to scramble off the beach semi-conscious. The other men suffered cuts and bruises but the final victim was found slumped unconscious in his own blood in a ditch.
The witness said: “At first the person who found him thought he was dead. His face was covered in blood and he was completely unrecognisable because of the swelling.
“I feel certain that if we hadn’t been on a beach he’d be dead now. They stamped on his head with both their feet and if it had been a pavement he would have died. This was not just laying a few punches on someone, it was vicious.”
Seven local people have been arrested. Four were bailed until Friday and a further three remained in custody on Tuesday.
A police helicopter, Sheppey coastguard, Sheerness lifeboat and the Whitstable lifeboat were all called to the scene because it was originally thought someone was missing in the water.
Anyone who saw the incident is asked to ring the police on 01795 419350.