The crew of the Emma Jane were airlifted by a coastguard search and rescue helicopter after running aground at Maplin Sands on the Thames Estuary.

Two sailors had to be airlifted from their 18-foot boat after their boat ran aground at Maplin Sands on the Thames Estuary and began taking on water.

The skipper of the Emma Jane contacted the coastguard via a 999 call just after 20:15 on 4 October, 2016.

The Southend and Sheerness RNLI lifeboats as well as a search and rescue helicopter from Lydd were scrambled to the scene.

A crew member from Southend lifeboat boarded the Emma Jane in blustery force six to seven to check on the crew and to stabilise the boat.

As a result of the bad weather and tidal conditions, it was decided to winch the two sailors and the lifeboat crewman into the helicopter, rather than attempt to transfer them back into the lifeboat.

They were then flown to Southend Airport where they were met by the Southend Coastguard Rescue Team.

A spokesman for the Sheerness RNLI said: “Due to weather and tidal conditions it was not possible to move the craft from its position and so with an anchor laid out it was left where it was.”

With conditions in the estuary worsening, the Sheerness lifeboat also provided safety cover for the smaller Southend lifeboat on its return passage back to base at Southend Pier.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “Both men were wearing lifejackets and they did exactly the right thing by contacting the coastguard when they got into difficulty.”

“We always recommend that you wear your lifejacket and carry the appropriate navigation and communication equipment on board,” concluded the spokesman.