Disastrous day for Red Funnel as ferry crashes in Southampton

Friday proved disastrous for the Red Funnel ferry when it hit the ramp at the Southampton terminal, injuring eight passengers and one crew member, and badly damaging its bow doors.

TheRed Falconcar ferry, which travels between Cowes and Southampton, was carrying about 130 passengers and 14 crew at the time of the accident. Of the injured parties, one sustained minor head injuries and another broke their fingers; they were taken to hospital but released later that night. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said that other passengers had received treatment from medics on the scene. One of the passengers on board the ferry was already in an ambulance with spinal injuries, being brought to the mainland for hospital treatment; luckily she sustained no further injuries in the crash. Several passengers and their cars were trapped on board until late at night.

An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the crash. Paul Chapman, of media giant Reuters, often uses the ferry, and was in his car on the top deck of the vessel when the collision occurred. He commented that the vessel seemed to be approaching the quay unusually fast: ‘Normally they slow up almost to a walking pace when they come into the port. We could see the gantry coming in towards us – it must have been a good 10 miles an hour’.

Ferry services were suspended, and havoc ensued as, added to the normal Friday night rush-hour traffic, vehicles wanting to travel to the Isle of Wight were diverted to Southampton’s Leisure World Complex, off West Quay Road to wait until services resumed.

Red Funnel hopes to have normal services up and running early this week. A single boat service will be in operation throughout Monday, with a revised timetable in place. The hi-speed service has not been affected. For further information see www.redfunnel.co.uk , or tel: 0870 444 8898