A kite surfer was "slammed into the ground and dragged" across Shoebury Beach after a gust of wind lifted him 12 foot into the air in a shocking accident.

The coastguard in Southend raced to help the kite surfer on Saturday following the accident around 12.54pm, which left them suffering "breathing difficulties".

Two ambulances were called to the scene to give treatment on the beach.

The kite surfer was treated for a suspected spinal injury and was transferred to Southend Hospital for further care.

The coastguard were initially alerted to the accident during a training exercise. 

A spokesman for the coastguard said: "Kite surfers outside our station motioned to us of a kite surfer who had been lifted by a gust of wind 12 foot into the air and who had then been slammed into the ground and dragged across the beach.

"Southend Coastguard rescue officers immediately intervened and provided casualty care to help stabilise the casualty as there was the potential of a C-spine injury.

"The casualty was made comfortable until the ambulance service arrived who confirmed they had the same concerns identified by our rescue officers and then the casualty was conveyed to hospital under blue lights.

"We wish the casualty a speedy recovery."

An ambulance spokesman added: "We were called by the coastguard at 1.12pm on Saturday with reports of a person experiencing breathing difficulties in Ness Road, Shoebury.

"We sent two ambulances and took a man to Southend University Hospital for further care."