After limping back to Ryde, the extent of the incident was made clear with the loss of four prop blades and a rudder panel. A hole in the side of the prop cowling also appeared.
Thankfully, all passengers were safely disembarked from the vessel with no injuries.
An investigation is now underway with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspecting the vessel at Ryde today. Both hovercraft are currently grounded under standard safety policy.
Hovertravel have confirmed their cross-Solent service will remain suspended until at least 18:15 today with a further update due at 17:00.
UPDATE @ 13:09 – An initial investigation into the propeller damage on Freedom 90 indicates that a foreign object caused the propeller blades to break, according to Hovertravel.
The MCA has praised the actions of the pilot and crew onboard, as well as the stop and review procedures conducted immediately by the cross-Solent operator.
A spokesperson has this afternoon said:
“Safety of passengers and staff is the number one priority for Hovertravel so Hovertravel’s engineering team and the MCA are carrying out further checks on Island Express.
“Hovertravel’s service is to remain suspended until 18:15 this evening with the next update to be issued at 17:00.
“Hovertravel apologises for the inconvenience the current suspension may cause to our customers and asks for their patience whilst we conduct our stringent safety checks on Island Express”.
Should inspections result in a positive outcome for Island Express, it is anticipated that Hovertravel will resume a one-craft service at the first possible opportunity.
UPDATE @ 15:50 – Hovertravel have confirmed that services between Ryde and Southsea have now resumed.
Hovertravel is implementing a revised summer timetable from tomorrow (Monday 29th June) until Friday 17th July with the following cancellations:
Monday to Friday Ex Ryde: 0730, 0800, 1600, 1630, 1700, 1730
Monday to Friday Ex Southsea: 0745, 0815, 1615, 1645, 1715, 1745
Hovertravel is asking any customers booked on the above services to rebook on a different service or join the priority standby process. Customers who do not wish to transfer may receive a refund or double compensation as per our cancellation delay replay policy.
The successful priority boarding system (as deployed during the Festival and Bestival) will be implemented between 05:50-08:45 & 16:20-17:45 (Ryde) & 15:35-18:30 (Southsea). Hovertravel will also implement a new standby line for all services (all day – every day) for all other passengers wishing to travel, who have no reservation and who are not eligible for priority boarding.
A Revised Timetable Help desk will be open in our Ryde Terminal between 0700-0900 and again at 1530-1800 to assist passengers to transfer their bookings and to answer enquiries.
Freedom 90 will be leaving Ryde to travel to Griffon Hoverwork, where she will be repaired, with an anticipated return to service in approximately three weeks.
A spokesperson has said:
“Once again Hovertravel wishes to apologise for the inconvenience today’s suspension and this revised timetable may cause our customers and we ask for your patience as we redouble our efforts to return Freedom 90 to service whilst delivering the best possible one craft timetable we can”.