UPDATED: Passengers on board a Hovertravel crossing between Ryde and Southsea have been rescued by a second hovercraft following the apparent breakdown of one of the ‘new’ hovers on Ryde Sands this morning (Sunday).
Island Flyer departed Ryde at 08:45 but by 08:54 had developed a problem, resulting in the craft making an about turn and coming to a stop on Ryde Sands at 09:10.
With the passenger craft stopped several hundred metres from Ryde Harbour, a second hovercraft – Freedom 90 – has rushed across the sands and taken on board the passengers unloaded from Island Flyer.
The passengers have been forced to walk across the sand onto the ‘lifeboat’ hovercraft – thankfully the tide is currently out.
Although the passengers are now heading to Southsea for their onward journey, the troublesome Island Flyer remains deflated on the sands with an incoming tide.
It is currently unknown what the problem is or how it started. Hovertravel has been approached for an statement.
It’s the second incident in recent months where passengers have had to disembark the craft whilst at sea. At the tail end of 2017, one of the hovercraft broke down short of Ryde resulting in passengers getting wet feet as they crossed the sand in the dark.
UPDATE @ 10:29 – Freedom 90 has travelled out to the stricken hover, but has since returned to Ryde to carry out normal passenger duties. The second ‘new’ hovercraft, Solent Flyer, appears to be on blocks at Ryde and therefore is currently out of service.
Island Flyer remains on the sands after more than an hour and is now surrounded by water with a strong wind present.
Hovertravel are advising passengers of a 10 minute delay to their cross-Solent Service this morning.
UPDATE @ 10:56 – It has been confirmed that a broken fan belt is to blame for this morning’s incident.
In a statement, Hovertravel has said:
“During the 08:45 crossing from Ryde to Southsea, a fan belt broke on Island Flyer.
“All passengers were transferred to Freedom 90 and continued to Southsea.
“The engineering team is replacing the fan belt on Island Flyer and services are operating normally”.
UPDATE @ 11:03 – Island Flyer is once again on the move following a successful repair by Hovertravel engineers. The craft is returning to Ryde.
A normal, timetabled service is in operation.