Car deck on ferry collapses

By Matthew McKew

Published on Saturday, July 19, 2014 - 10:13


Car deck on ferry collapses

Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service at the scene after a Wightlink car ferry deck collapsed. Picture courtesy of Richard Chantler.

UPDATED 10.13am

A FULL car deck has part collapsed on a Wightlink ferry at Fishbourne.

Four people have been taken to hospital by the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service.

The ambulance service was called to the scene at 10.22pm.

A spokesman said: "We dispatched a paramedic car, a bronze commander and two ambulances to the scene.
"We treated four patients, all of whom have been taken to St Mary's Hospital. We do not believe there are  any further casualties."

Police, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service and coastguard also attended.

A spokeswoman for the fire service said one crew had been sent to assist the ambulance service.

She said: "A car deck, which was fully loaded with vehicles, has collapsed on one side."

Coastguard said the ferry would depart for Portsmouth in order to let another ferry dock. The second ferry had been waiting for approximately an hour and a half.

Wightlink has issued this statement: "The St Helen car ferry, the 9:30pm sailing from Portsmouth Gunwharf with 181 passengers and 11 crew on board, arrived at Fishbourne at 10:16pm. 

"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."

*The company said there could be minor delays on the route, while the vessel was out of service.

Wightlink also announced the following sailings would be cancelled:
Sunday, July 20
From Portsmouth - 12.30, 14.30, 16.30 and 18.30
From Fishbourne - 13.30, 15.30, 17.30 and 19.30
Monday, July 21
From Portsmouth - 07.30, 9.30, 11.30, 13.30, 15.30 and 17.30
From Fishbourne - 08.30, 10.30, 12.30, 14.30, 16.30 and 18.30

Were you on board at the time? Please e-mail the newsdesk via

Thanks to Shane Thornton, of IOW Images, for the pictures below:
Shane Thornton - car deck collapse

Shane Thornton - car deck collapse

Shane Thornton - car deck collapse

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