Passengers 'safely discharged' after ferry runs aground off Isle of Wight

Daily Echo

A Red Funnel ferry has collided with a number of yachts after running aground in heavy fog near East Cowes harbour on the Isle of Wight earlier this morning.

They said they have made contact with the person, reported to be safe and well, who was on-board his own vessel and was "crying out to try and alert the master of the ferry of the situation".

The Red Funnel-operated vessel was attempting to berth at the entrance of Cowes Harbour shortly after 8am when the incident, the third of its kind in just over a month, happened.

It remained grounded at the entrance to the harbour on Sunday morning and tugs were in attendance. More than 50 people were on the ferry at the time of the collision.

The ferry transports passengers and vehicles between East Cowes and Southhampton.

"Contrary to some media coverage, there are no reports of anyone entering the water and there are no reported injuries to anybody involved in this incident".

A Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was dispatched for the operation but has been forced to turn back due to low visibility.

The person is now safe and well, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

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"Attempts to refloat the vessel are now underway on a falling tide".

Red Funnel has said all trips between Southampton and East Cowes have been suspended.

Cowes RNLI lifeboat, Calshot RNLI lifeboats and coastguard rescue teams from Bembridge, Needles and Ventnor were involved in the search and rescue operation.

It has run aground but is watertight.

Cowes Harbour is now closed to traffic.

"The search is ongoing and we have no further information at this stage".

The Red Falcon ferry is also thought to be hard aground - meaning that it's keel is lodged and it can not move at all.

The Red Funnel ferry can be clearly seen from shore but one of the smaller vessels which was struck has sunk, according to witnesses at the scene.

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