A car deck loaded with cars on one side of the Wightlink ferry has collapsed at Fishbourne this evening.
The ambulance service called the fire brigade at 22:28 this evening.
OnTheWight was told be the fire service that by 22:47 all casualties had been taken to hospital by ambulance.
The fire service was called as was viewed as a dangerous structure.
It currently looks like there’s been no risk to life.
A statement about those taken to hospital has now been issued
Description by someone at the scene
I can confirm four casualties, two head injuries and two suspected spinal injuries.
Fire and police attend very quickly and coastguard teams followed, from Ryde, Bembridge and Newport.
Everyone was removed who could be moved, ambulance crews attend and took casualties to St. Marys Hospital and then the ramp was lowered at the other side to remove cars for better access to remove damaged cars.
Total time of incident was 2 hours and 30 minutes with change around of the planned 23:00 crossing, which left at 00:37 – the other ferry had to wait just a mile off of the dock.
Wightlink statement issued at 03:30
The St Helen car ferry, the 21:30 sailing from Portsmouth Gunwharf with 181 passengers and 11 crew on board, arrived at Fishbourne at 22:16. As part of the usual disembarkation process, after vehicles on the lower deck had left the ship, the starboard forward mezzanine deck with nine cars on board was lowered. When it was a short distance from the deck below, it dropped a few feet and made contact with the lower deck.
One member of the crew and three passengers have been taken to St Mary’s Hospital by ambulance. The Isle of Wight ambulance service has confirmed none of the injuries are life-threatening. A member of Wightlink’s staff attended the hospital to aid and support customers.
A full investigation into the incident is underway. The incident has been reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Wightlink is fully co-operating with the authorities. St Helen, in common with all Wightlink ferries, is inspected regularly by external surveyors. The last independent engineering survey of the ship, including its mezzanine decks, took place in May 2014 during her annual refit.
What can be told from the photo
The photo shows one corner of the raised deck significantly lower and the cars listing towards that front edge. The deck appears full of cars.
The cars are facing toward the port, implying that the St Helen was arriving to the Island.
The other side of the ferry is fully clear, so it’s hoped that no cars were underneath the deck that fell, although there has been no official word on this.
Wightlink haven’t, as yet, made any official statement.
Unsurprisingly, there will be delays on the Wightlink ferry service this evening – Confirmed by Portsmouth Police.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected.
Isle of Wight Ambulance Service statement
At 22:22 on Friday 18th July 2014 Isle of Wight Ambulance Service were alerted to an incident at Wightlink’s Fishbourne terminal.
A paramedic in a rapid response car and a ‘Bronze’ command officer in another car were despatched to the scene immediately. The Ambulance Service designated it as a significant incident and subsequently deployed two emergency ambulances to the scene as part of a multi agency response to the incident.
Four patients were conveyed from the scene to St. Mary’s Hospital. However none have life threatening injuries.
As at 00:10 on Saturday 19th July 2014 the paramedic and Bronze command officer remain on the scene as part of the multi agency response to ensure that no other passengers or staff have sustained injuries.
List of updates to article
Update 00:30 Added description of what could be seen in photo
Update 00:20 Added Isle of Wight Ambulance Service update
Update 00:35 Added awaiting Wightlink statement
Update 00:51 Added Pompey police confirm later ferry delays
Update 01:03 Added description from someone at the scene
03:30Wightlink statement issued at
Update 09:55 Added link to statement from NHS
Update 13:13 Added link to HD photo set
Update 20 July 22:13 Added link to snapped cable photo set
Update 21 July 09:06 Added link to Radio Solent interview
Image: © Richard Chantler and ‘Spudy’