According to AIS tracking, the incident occurred around halfway across the Solent at approximately 11:20 as the vessel Wight Light travelled towards the Isle of Wight. It had departed from Lymington at 11:00.
Wightlink’s crew manned and launched the rescue boat in a bid to assist the passenger, who had plunged several metres into the cold Western Solent. However, Coastguard Rescue 175 was very quickly on scene – having flown from Dorset – and swiftly winched the casualty on board. The helicopter’s winchman was lowered into the water to conduct the swift rescue.
The man has now been flown directly to Southampton General Hospital. His condition is unknown at this time.
UPDATE @ 12:25 – A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has said:
“Just before 11.30am today (11 September) HM Coastguard received a VHF radio call reporting a person in the water between Lymington and Yarmouth and requesting assistance.
“The HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lee on Solent was already in the area and was sent to the scene.
“The person was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital”.
Wightlink have confirmed that due to the earlier emergency incident, there are a number of cancelled sailings on the Yarmouth-Lymington route. The 14:05, 16:05 and 18:05 from Yarmouth have been cancelled alongside the 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00 from Lymington. This is to allow vital emergency equipment to be replaced prior to the ferry going back into service.
All booked customers will travel on the next available sailing. Further information is available at https://www.wightlink.co.uk/go/service-status/.