Ferry collides with yachts and runs aground on Isle of Wight

A ferry collided with two yachts and ran aground while trying to berth in heavy fog on the Isle of Wight on Sunday morning.

A spokesman from HM Coastguard said they received reports of the incident at the entrance of Cowes Harbour just after 8am.

The coastguard also received a 999 call from someone who had heard cries for help. It transpired this was someone on another vessel trying to alert the master of the ferry to what was happening.

One of the yachts, which were both unmanned, sunk after being hit.

The mast of a submerged yacht after it was hit by the ferry. Credit: PA

The ferry company, Red Falcon Ferry, said there were no reports of any injuries to the 40 passengers on board.

Fran Collins, chief executive of Red Funnel, said the boats involved in the collision were "unmanned, moored yachts" and no one was hurt.

All passengers who were on-board the ferry have been safely discharged.

Surveyors have completed an initial assessment of the ferry and it has been cleared to be relocated to Southampton to undergo further inspections.

The ferry was travelling from Southampton to East Cowes at the time of the incident.

A HM Coastguard spokesperson said: "Just after 8am today 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."

Searches were carried out by Cowes RNLI lifeboat, Calshot RNLI lifeboats and Coastguard Rescue Teams from Bembridge, Needles and Ventnor, but it was later confirmed there was nobody in the water or missing.

A coastguard search and rescue helicopter was initially deployed to the area but had to turn back due to low visibility caused by heavy fog.

The Red Funnel got caught in the shallows. Credit: Ian Pretty/Twitter

The coastguard said the ferry was refloated and taken alongside in East Cowes.

Ms Collins said: "On behalf of Red Funnel, I would like to sincerely apologise to all those affected by this incident.

"Our staff are contacting passengers to offer them alternative sailings and service details are also available on our website."

She said Red Funnel places the safety of passengers and crew as their "highest priority" and have commenced a full investigation into the incident.