UPDATED WITH VIDEO: An incident half way across the Solent tonight (Saturday) has resulted in the breaking up of a propeller on one of Hovertravel’s two hovercraft, leaving just half a blade out of a total of four in tact and a rudder hanging off the rear of the craft.
Passengers on board Hovertravel’s 21:45 passenger service between Ryde and Southsea have expressed their shock to Island Echo at how around half way through their journey to Portsmouth a loud bang echoed through the craft before dust began to fall onto their heads.
Damage to the craft shows the loss of 4 blades, the loss of one rudder panel and damage to two others. Damage has also been sustained to one of the prop cowlings.
Those on board the craft at the time say after regaining control of the vessel and reassuring passengers, the captain made an about turn and returned to port at Ryde. Island Echo has witnessed the craft struggling to land on the pad after a slow approach.
It is currently unclear how the incident will affect Hovertravel’s operations and whether or not the incident will reflect on the running of the secondary vessel of the same model.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency have been informed and an investigation is likely to be launched immediately.
UPDATE @ 23:57 – Hovertravel have confirmed that a statement will be issued at 09:30 tomorrow morning (Sunday) with further details.
UPDATE SUNDAY @ 07:15 – Hovertavel have advised customers that their service is suspended until at least 13:15 this afternoon, with a further update to be issued at midday.
“Hovertravel can confirm that our craft Freedom 90, whilst operating the 21:45 Ryde to Southsea service yesterday evening, experienced a major fault with the port propellor. The craft immediately returned to Ryde, where all passengers and crew disembarked safely. There are no reported injuries.
“As per our standard safety procedures, we are currently conducting a stop and review investigation with both craft grounded. Consequently all Hovertravel services are cancelled until 1315 today, with a further update on our service status to be issued at 12 noon”