UPDATED @ 15:50 – A search and rescue operation was launched this afternoon after a passenger jumped from a Red Funnel ferry.
The ferry operator’s Red Falcon vessel was crossing the Solent at 11:45 from Southampton when a man jumped from the main outdoor seating area of the boat, after dropping a cigarette butt over the side.
The man was accompanied by three carers.
Crew on board the ferry raced to launch their rescue boat to reach the man, who had to be resuscitated at the scene.
The Isle of Wight Ambulance Service dispatched an ambulance to the dockside at East Cowes to meet the ferry and transfer the man to St Mary’s Hospital, Newport.
UPDATED– A further statement has been issued by Red Funnel this afternoon. A spokesman said: ” Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries can confirm that at approximately 11:45am, whilst the Red Falcon was making her approach into Cowes, an individual jumped from the main guest outdoor seated area (A Deck) where he was seated with his 3 carers. Unfortunately he threw a cigarette butt over the side and then chose to jump in, without warning to his carers. The Ship’s rescue boat and crew were mobilised immediately and successfully rescued the individual.
“We can also confirm that on recovery, the crew members of the Red Falcon’s FRC (Fast Rescue Craft) had to perform life-saving first aid to clear significant water ingested by the casualty who was breathing with difficulty. On handing over to the IW ambulance service the casualty was breathing unassisted and on his feet.
“As normal in these types of situations we will be conducting a full investigation, but at this stage it appears the individual’s life was saved by the swift actions, demonstrating the highest levels of skill and training, of the Captain Chris Barron and his crew.
“Red Funnel would like to thank the Isle of Wight emergency services for their support in what was a life-threatening situation”.