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Crews rescue naked man from rowing boat in River Medway during Storm Dennis

By: Chris Hunter chunter@thekmgroup.co.uk

Published: 09:05, 16 February 2020

Updated: 08:59, 17 February 2020

Emergency crews rescued a naked man from the River Medway last night after his rowing boat got caught in stormy conditions.

Residents on St Mary's Island in Chatham spotted the man inside a tent in a small rowing boat, around 20 metres off shore at around 5pm yesterday as Storm Dennis hit Kent.

Lifeboat crews attempt to rescue a man from the river Medway during Storm Dennis. Picture by Stacey Gallagher

The subsequent rescue operation involved the Coastguard, RNLI lifeboat service, firefighters, police and ambulance crews.

"It was a very small rowing boat and he was too scared to go into shore," said crew manager Jim Sanderson from Strood fire station. "He was worried that if he took his anchor up the boat would float off into the estuary because it was a strong wind.

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"It was a major operation. The coastguard had rescue swimmers ready to deploy, so if he fell in one of them could swim to him; the firefighters had throw lines and could wade out if needed.

"The RNLI were able to manoeuvre a large boat to get a line out to him.

"It was horrendous. It was rough weather and blowing gale."

Once the lifeboat crews had secured the man's boat they were able to take him into shore and pass him over to ambulance crews.

It is thought the man, aged in his early 40s, had possibly removed his clothes after they became wet in the stormy conditions.

Police confirmed they were called at around 5pm to reports that a "small boat with one man on board had come loose from its moorings on the River Medway".

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Officers attended along with Kent Fire and Rescue Services and a lifeboat, which pulled the man to safety at around 7.30pm.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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