Four people have been hospitalised after the deck of a car ferry travelling to the Isle of Wight collapsed on to the deck below.
The deck collapsed as passengers were disembarking from the ferry after it had docked at the Fishbourne terminal on the Isle of Wight just before 10:30 on Friday night.
Paramedics, police, fire crews and the coastguard were all called to the scene when the forward mezzanine deck of the St Helen car ferry gave way with nine cars on it.
Three passengers and one crew member are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport.
A spokesperson for Wightlink Ferries said that after docking at the Isle of Wight, the vehicles on the lower deck were removed “as part of the usual disembarkation process” and the forward mezzanine deck loaded with the cars was lowered.
“When it was a short distance from the deck below, it dropped a few feet and made contact with the lower deck,” the spokesperson said.
Wightlink Ferries has launched a full investigation into the accident, and said the incident “has been reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Wightlink is fully co-operating with the authorities”.
It is not known whether those injured were in cars or on the deck beneath the mezzanine, but a spokesperson for the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service said the patients were all “conscious and breathing” when they were taken from the scene.
The St Helen car ferry last underwent an independent engineering inspection in May this year.
The ship sailed from Portsmouth at 21:30 on Friday night with 181 passengers and 11 crew on board.
Additional reporting from Press AssociationReuse content