Two schoolgirls were lucky to be alive after they were pushed into the sea and left clinging for their lives.
Sara Richmond, eight, and Emma Hyder, 14, who was partially deaf and blind, were pushed off a Portsmouth sea wall into the water by thugs who ran off laughing as the girls screamed for help.
The terrified girls clung to rocks beneath the wall in the harbour mouth sobbing as their pleas to passing yachtsmen were ignored.
They were stuck in the water for 20 minutes as the tide came in, trapped by rocks from reaching the beach.
They were eventually seen by a skipper of a passing ferry who raised the alarm.
The girls, from Somers Town, were plucked from the sea, too shocked to speak, by an MoD patrol boat and taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia.
Emma’s mother Ann said: ‘They are lucky to be alive. If they were left there any longer they would have been swept away.’
Ann said both girls owed their life to the Isle of Wight ferry skipper who spotted them in the water.
She said: ‘He even stopped his ferry and kept watch over them until the rescue boat arrived.’