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Sheerness lifeboat rescues three men stranded on Second World War Maunsell sea fort

Three men have been rescued after being marooned and spending a night on a Second World War sea fort.

The trio had to be taken off Red Sands Tower four miles off Whitstable by the Sheerness RNLI lifeboat.

Three men rescued from this Maunsell Second World War sea fort off Whitstable by the Sheerness lifeboat. Picture: RNLI
Three men rescued from this Maunsell Second World War sea fort off Whitstable by the Sheerness lifeboat. Picture: RNLI

Lifeboat spokesman Vic Booth said: "The three young men became stranded on the Red Sands tower after their two rigid inflatable boats drifted off on the tide.

He added: "We have no information about how the towers were accessed or for what reasons. All three young men were fit and well."

A six-strong crew launched the all-weather lifeboat just before 9am on Sundayand arrived at the fort at 9.28am.

Mr Booth said: "The three young men were located, removed from the tower, taken onboard the lifeboat and returned to the lifeboat mooring in Sheerness docks at 10.05am where they were met by members of the Sheppey Coastguard Rescue Team and Kent Police."

Sheppey Coastguard Team said the men had seen the forts on TV and wanted a closer look but when they returned to their boats they had gone.

A spokesman said: "They spent the night on the fort and called for help in the morning. Thankfully they were all OK, just very embarrassed."

The weather was "fair" with calm seas and good visibility.

Three men rescued from this Maunsell Second World War sea fort off Whitstable by the Sheerness lifeboat. Picture: RNLI
Three men rescued from this Maunsell Second World War sea fort off Whitstable by the Sheerness lifeboat. Picture: RNLI

The concrete and rusting iron forts in the Thames Estuary were designed by Guy Maunsell for the army as Britain's defence against German air raids.

They comprise seven inter-connected steel platforms, five of which carried guns arranged in a semi-circle around a control centre with accommodation. The seventh carried a searchlight tower set further out than the gun towers.

The forts and their sister defences at Shivering Sands have had a number of "tenants" over the years including pirate radio stations like Radio City and Radio Sutch. They have been used for films like Slade In Flame and TV programmes including Doctor Who and Danger Man.

They were recently featured in an ITV documentary programme presented by Paul O'Grady.There are plansto turn them into a new tourist attraction.

Sheerness RNLI lifeboat at sea. Picture: RNLI
Sheerness RNLI lifeboat at sea. Picture: RNLI

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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