Why are IW council shy about discussing floating bridge incident?

After last year’s serious incident on the floating bridge that resulted in a staff member having to be airlifted to the mainland for emergency treatment, Isle of Wight council were going to look into the causes. OnTheWight has followed up with questions, but IWC are avoiding answering the questions.

floating bridge suspended

At the end of last September, a member of staff on the Cowes floating bridge had to be airlifted to the mainland for medical treatment after an onboard incident.

Five months later and it’s great to know that the 37-year-old man from Newport has fully recovered and is back to “normal working duties”.

Investigation into what happened
The incident was serious and Isle of Wight council had said they would be looking into it further, so OnTheWight got in touch with last week for an update.

We asked:

  • What were the circumstances?
  • What occurred?
  • Has the staff member returned to full health?
  • Is back working on the Floating Bridge?

Half a reply
In a response received yesterday, a council spokesperson told OnTheWight,

“We’re pleased to report our colleague at the Cowes Floating Bridge, who had an accident at work in September, has returned to full health and normal working duties.

“In accordance with the council’s health and safety procedures, an accident investigation was undertaken and any issues identified during this process have been addressed.”

As we’ve said, it’s great to hear the staff member is back and well, but it’s notable that the Isle of Wight council avoided answering our first two questions.

Thursday, 28th February, 2019 10:08am


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Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story

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12 Comments on "Why are IW council shy about discussing floating bridge incident?"

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The Council should answer the questions. I’ve heard that it was something a little different than what we all were lead to believe, something that was potentially compromising safety of both the staff and the people using the floating bridge. No need for smoke and mirrors. What happened?


If anyone has has dealings with insurance companies you will find that you breach the terms of your policy if you start telling everyone what actually happened.This could imply fault on someone’s behalf The Insurance Company will deal with the injury claim on what “legally happened” – which may be different


Clearly not an insurance issue when dealing with a publicly owned and run service as part of the transport system. I understand what you are trying to say, but there is MUCH more to this story than is being said. The Council apparently is trying to avoid saying what happened.


Perhaps because a member of staff made a mistake on that day?


I seriously doubt that this particular council would hold back on telling one and all if a member of staff were solely responcible for his/her own injuries! The silence sounds more like the usual “oops we messed up, say nothing and they might go away” behaviour


Oh OK, it’s just I heard some rumours about it that’s all.

Alternative Perspective

‘Why are Isle of Wight council shy about discussing floating bridge injury incident?’

Why indeed.


Marine Accident Investigation Branch should have a full report.

It looks like that it might not be the MAIB (hard to definitively say) as the floating bridge falls under the Health and Safety Executive’s remit, because it is a vessel but NOT a ship. (All according to the Chain Ferry Code etc.) If it’s not done by the MAIB, I suppose we need to know who did the investigation and what the results were. It’s a… Read more »

The Isle of Wight Council must avoid any repetition of this awful incident and detail exactly what had gone so badly wrong with the Floating Bridge that made it necessary for this seriously injured crew member to be urgently working alone deep down in that restricted access area whilst the vessel was in operation.


Ask the Council the first two questions again under the Freedom of Information Act


Has anyone not thought about the individual who was injured? Maybe they don’t want it talked about either?