Search underway after ferry passenger reported missing off coast of Scotland


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The Independent Online

A search and rescue operation is under way after a passenger was reported missing from a ferry.

Coastguard teams were alerted just before 6.30am to the passenger missing from the overnight Shetland to Aberdeen service.

The adult passenger was last seen on the NorthLink ferry, MV Hjaltland at 4am, meaning the search and rescue operation is covering an extensive area off the north east coast of Scotland.

Aberdeen Coastguard is co-ordinating the operation, which is also involving three RNLI lifeboats, an RAF helicopter from Lossiemouth and other commercial vessels. The ferry is also retracing its route in a bid to help with the search.

The main area of water being concentrated on just now is around five miles off the Peterhead coast.

A coastguard spokesman said: "We got the call at 6.23am this morning from the overnight ferry the Hjaltland, the Shetland to Aberdeen ferry.

"She was approaching Aberdeen at the time and reported a passenger on board missing."

No details of the passenger have been made available, except that they are an adult.

The spokesman continued: "That person had last been seen at 4am. A search of the vessel confirmed they weren't on board.

"We launched a search and rescue operation. It's (over) a fairly large area.

"At the moment the area we're concentrating on is about five miles off Peterhead.

"It involves three lifeboats from Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Aberdeen and the RAF rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth.

"There are two commercial vessels joining the search at the moment and also the ferry itself turned back and retraced its route. It's currently just to the south of Peterhead."

The spokesman said the ferry had been getting close to Aberdeen when it raised the alarm and did not come in to land.