A powerboat was left circling dangerously in the sea after its two occupants were thrown overboard.

Dover Coastguard was called at about 9am this morning (Sunday) to reports an out of control RHIB with nobody onboard was circling in the sea off St Leonards.

Two people were in the water clinging on to a buoy about a quarter-mile off shore as the boat circled around them.

The Hastings Coastguard Rescue Team and the Hastings inshore RNLI lifeboat were sent to the scene.

When they got there, they found the two people had managed to swim back to shore without injury.

However the boat was spotted circling just off shore before lifeboat crew managed to bring it under control and cut off the engine.

Nicola Goodban, Watch Manager at Dover Coastguard, said: “This Sunday morning boat trip could easily have ended in tragedy. It appears the driver of this RHIB was not wearing a kill cord, which meant when the people on board were thrown into the water, there was no way to stop the engine and bring the boat under control.

“We always recommend you wear a kill cord when out on a power boat. One end of the kill cord is attached near the throttle and the other should go around the helmsman's leg. You should always check your kill cord works at the start of each day or session and remember to renew it regularly.”