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Hovertravel conclude internal investigation

"Throughout the court proceedings Hovertravel has co-operated fully with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's investigation. Following sentencing today, we can now conclude our own internal investigation. "Hovertravel is fully committed to the health and safety of passengers and staff, with a comprehensive set of robust policies and a zero tolerance to alcohol and drugs, all endorsed by the MCA."

– Hovertravel press statement

The moment drunk hovercraft pilot fell unconscious

A hovercraft pilot has been sentenced to eight months in jail for being almost three times the drink drive limit on a journey across the Solent.

Thirty-six passengers were on board the service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight when Richard Pease had a near miss with a tanker and a busy pier - before missing the landing pad. Andrew Pate reports from Newport Crown Court.

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Hovercraft pilot, well over drink driving limit, jailed for eight months

Richard Pease Credit: M & Y

A hovercraft pilot has been sentenced to eight months in jail for being nearly three times over the drink drive limit on a journey across the Solent.

Thirty six passengers were on board the service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight when Richard Pease had a near miss with a tanker and a busy pier before missing the landing pad at Ryde.

Underage drink driving: Hampshire Police reaction

Hampshire Constabulary Road Safety Sergeant, Rob Heard said: “These figures show that over a six year period 276 drivers between the ages of 14 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of drink driving in Hampshire. The vast majority of these were males aged 17.

“While this figure is higher than some other Force areas in the UK up to the end of 2013, it reflects the significant efforts that are made across Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight to prevent driving while impaired through drink or drugs.

"Each of these arrests potentially represents a life, or lives, saved on our roads and this research demonstrates that we are detecting these offences effectively.

“Interestingly the figures for 2012 and 2013 are significantly reduced by more than two thirds compared to the figure from 2008.

"This ongoing decline seems to demonstrate that our educational messages to young drivers are being heard clearly.

"One such example is our 'Safe Drive, Stay Alive' series of educational presentations in colleges and community centres across the county.

"These take place every November, with the first of these being held at King's Community Church in Hedge End on Thursday, November 13.

“Many teenagers understand that if you choose to drink or drug drive, we will catch you, you will go to court and you will lose your licence.

"We are determined to reduce casualties on our roads and our success in identifying people who drive while impaired through drink or drugs is just one element of our work to do so”.

"If you have concerns about someone that you suspect of driving while impaired you can report this anonymously to crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also register for 'Safe Drive, Stay Alive' events online at www.safedrive.org.uk."

11-year-old stopped for drink driving

An eleven year old child has been stopped by police targeting drink drivers in the Thames Valley.

Statistics show in Hampshire more than two hundred drink drivers under the age of eighteen were caught in the six years to 2013.

An average of 1,000 under-18s have been convicted of drink-driving per year since 2008, according to police figures obtained by in-car camera provider Nextbase.

The statistics showed there were an average of five drink-drivers under 18 caught each week since 2008.

"Uninsured drivers on UK roads pose a huge threat to the safety of the vast majority of responsible motorists and pedestrians. These threats come in many forms and today's findings go to show that it's not just those who illegally choose not to buy insurance. Motorists have to be aware of such threats and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk."

– Nextbase spokesman Bryn Brooker

"Tackling drink-driving is a priority for the Government and we are taking steps to strengthen enforcement, including allowing roadside breath tests to be used as evidence in prosecutions and removing the statutory right of drivers to demand a blood or urine test at the police station which can give them time to sober up. We have also made it a requirement for convicted drink-drivers to take medical tests to prove they are no longer alcohol-dependent before being allowed to drive. Under-age driving is illegal and no person under the age of 17 should be driving a car. We have tough laws in place to tackle those caught driving without a licence. Drink-driving is a menace that costs lives, and the Government is strengthening the law to help police crack down on this problem."

– A Department for Transport spokesman

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Hovertravel says crew 'acted appropriately' when pilot, nearly three times over drink driving limit, took charge

Statement from Hovertravel

Hovertravel appreciates the serious nature of this matter and has been fully co-operating with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's investigation since the incident.

Following this, Hovertravel have reviewed their robust procedures and concluded they were implemented successfully on the day which ensured that any risk to health and safety was mitigated. Regular training and a clear understanding of our safety procedures gave our crew the confidence to react appropriately to the situation.

As the court proceedings are still ongoing, we can not comment on the specifics of the incident and we continue to provide all and any assistance required to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Hovercraft pilot, nearly three times over drink drive limit, was in charge of vessel

Richard Pease was in charge of the hovercraft Credit: M and Y

Hovercraft pilot Richard Pease faces the sack after admitting to being nearly three times over the drink-drive limit while in charge of a vessel carrying 36 people.

A colleague had to step-in and take over the controls when Pease fell ill at the controls of the Hovertravel Freedom 90.

Pease, 50, of Cowes, Isle of Wight, pleaded guilty to being a master of a hovercraft having consumed excess alcohol.

The experienced pilot was responsible for driving the vessel during a five-mile journey across the Solent from Portsmouth to Ryde on June 22.

Hovercraft pilot was nearly three times drink drive limit

Hovercraft pilot Richard Pease faces the sack after admitting to being nearly three times over the drink-drive limit while in charge of a vessel carrying 36 people.

Pease, 50, of Cowes, Isle of Wight, pleaded guilty to being a master of a hovercraft having consumed excess alcohol.

The experienced pilot was responsible for driving the vessel during a five-mile journey across the Solent from Portsmouth to Ryde on 22 June.

But a colleague had to step in and take over the controls when Pease fell ill at the controls of the Hovertravel Freedom 90.

Tests revealed he had been drinking and had 96 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal drink-drive limit is 35 micrograms.

Neil Fitzgibben, defending, said: "Mr Pease has an unblemished character. He has been a hovercraft pilot for nearly 20 years. I will present some character references in due course."

The case has been adjourned for sentencing at Isle of Wight Crown Court on 10 October and Peace has been released on unconditional bail.

Pease, wearing a navy suit and blue tie, pleaded not guilty to two further charges of driving a vehicle while his alcohol level was above the limit and not complying with requirements of the International Safety Management Code.

Sunyana Sharma, prosecuting, told Honorary Judge Linda Sullivan QC the pleas were acceptable as the initial two charges were put in place because it was thought the Railways and Transport Safety Act did not include hovercraft.

Hovertravel operates two hovercrafts and has carried more than 26 million passengers since it opened in 1965.

Hovertravel is the world’s longest-running commercial hovercraft service and is the only scheduled passenger service in Europe.

Modern hovercraft were developed in the 1950s by British inventor Sir Chris­topher Cockerell.

They float on a cushion of air allowing them to travel over water and flat land surfaces.

The steering of the craft is controlled by rudders, which are located in the slipstream behind each propeller. The captain can also use the propellers to change the direction of the craft.

Hovertravel refused to comment until after Pease has been sentenced.

76 charged with drink and drug driving offences

So far, Dorset Police have arrested and charged 76 people with drink or drug driving-related offences.

They were pulled over as part of the Force's summer campaign.

Next month, 7 motorists are due in court.

The campaign will run until 31st July.

The summer drink and drug driving campaign will continue until the 31st July Credit: PA Wire
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