Ferry Crashes Near Isle Of Wight With 'Cries For Help' Reported
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.
The Coastguard issued a statement earlier this morning that reads: "Just after 8am today (Sunday 21 October) HM Coastguard received reports that the Red Falcon Ferry had collided with at least two yachts whilst trying to berth at the entrance of Cowes Harbour during heavy fog.
"At around the same time we received a 999 call from a member of the public reporting that he'd heard cries for help within Cowes Harbour.
"We are currently carrying at an extensive search of the area with Cowes RNLI lifeboat, Calshot RNLI lifeboats and Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bembridge, Needles and Ventnor. A Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was searching the area but due to the low visibility in the area had to turn back.
"The ferry with 56 persons onboard remains grounded at the entrance at Cowes.Those persons onboard are safe and well.
"The search is ongoing, and we have no further information at this stage".
#HMCoastguard currently coordinating search operation in #CowesHarbour after ferry collides into yachts in heavy fog https://t.co/DqibRfKXNz pic.twitter.com/aZv4TBUbs4
- Maritime&Coastguard (@MCA_media) October 21, 2018
The ferry, which is owned and operated by the Red Funnel company, is thought to have collided with the yachts around 50 metres from the shore at East Cowes harbour.
A search is underway for people in the water after the earlier reports made through the call to the emergency services.
The Red Falcon ferry is also thought to be hard aground - meaning that it's keel is lodged and it cannot move at all.
Ferry services out of the Isle of Wight port are heavily affected.
It is thought that the fog played a significant role in causing the incident.
Three local lifeboats from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) are at the scene.
+SHOUT+ lifeboat launched this morning to an ongoing incident in East Cowes with @CalshotRNLI @VentnorCRT and Bembridge Coastguard. More details may follow. #AlwaysOnCall #RNLI
- Cowes RNLI Lifeboat (@CowesRNLI) October 21, 2018
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Ian Pretty