Update (Oct. 22) – The UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch has launched an investigation into the collision between the passenger ro-ro ferry Red Falcon in Cowes Harbour, Isle of Wight. The MAIB said the ro-ro collided with a moored yacht, named Greylag, causing the yacht to sink. The ferry subsequently ran aground.
(Oct. 21, 2018) – A car and passenger ferry collided with at least two yachts while trying to berth at the entrance of Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight during heavy fog on Sunday.
The HM Coastguard said it received reports just after 8 a.m. that the Red Falcon Ferry had collided with yachts and later grounded with 56 people on board. At around the same time, authorities also received a 999 emergency call from a member of the public reporting that they heard cries for help within the harbor.
An extensive search was launched involving a Cowes RNLI lifeboat, Calshot RNLI lifeboats and Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bembridge, Needles and Ventnor. A Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was also searching the area but due to the low visibility it had to turn back.
The Coastguard later confirmed that there was nobody in the water or reported missing in Cowes Harbour, and the person who was heard crying has been confirmed safe.
Surveyors with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency have completed an initial assessment of the ferry and cleared it to be relocated to Southampton, without passengers, to undergo additional inspections. The vessel was being accompanied by two tug escorts and an MCA surveyor remained onboard for the short journey to Southampton.
Any witnesses of the collision, the grounding and/or any passengers onboard the Red Falcon are being urged to contact MCA investigators.
The Red Falcon is operated by Red Funnel which provides regular ferry service between the English mainland and the Isle of Wight.