Tuesday, 18 December 2018

'Major incident' as lorries topple on Larne to Cairnryan ferry

Emergency services were called to a "major incident" on a ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland after a number of lorries toppled over.
It happened as "extreme weather conditions" affected the service between Larne and Cairnryan.
Police said the south of Scotland port was likely to be shut for some time and anyone planning on sailing should only travel "if absolutely necessary".
No-one was badly hurt but some people were stuck in their vehicles.
Ferry operator P&O said its 16:30 sailing had been cancelled and it urged affected passengers to call 0800 130 0030 to arrange alternative travel.
Toppled lorries
Lorry driver Niall Mcerlean was on board when the alarm was raised.
He said: "We got on the ferry about half four and it was a wee bit rough and choppy coming along.
"About half way across it sort of went into a big dip and came back out of it and that is when all the wrecking took place.
"After that the boat was sort of capsizing over a wee bit, leaning over a wee bit." 
Car damaged on ferry
Image captionCars were also damaged on board the ferry
Asked if he thought the ferry was going to topple over, Mr Mcerlean replied: "We thought she was away at that time."
He also said passengers were taken aback by the speed with which the incident unfolded.
Mr Mcerlean said: "It happened that quick that people didn't know what was taking place and everybody was nervous and afraid if we were going on over.
"There was a lot of panic going on."
Niall Mcerlean
Image captionLorry driver Niall Mcerlean said there was panic on board the ferry
Mr Mcerlean said the sailing was the only one out of Northern Ireland last night.
He added: "I don't know why P&O sailed last night because it was giving out for a storm.
"Maybe they shouldn't have sailed."
In a statement, P&O Ferries said an incident had taken place on one of its vessels, the European Causeway.
"In extreme weather conditions, a number of vehicles have moved position on the decks causing damage onboard," it said.
"All passengers and crew are safely accounted for, there are no reports of injuries and the emergency services are in attendance."
Police Scotland said it had been called out after reports of a "number of vehicles" having overturned on the ferry.
Toppled lorries
Toppled lorry
"During a choppy sailing, there has been a movement of vehicles on the car deck and this has caused around six vehicles to tip over onto their side," it said in a statement.
"Due to the movement on the deck, there are a number of passengers confined to vehicles."
They confirmed all 52 passengers and 56 crew were safe and well.
Media captionSeveral lorries are thought to have overturned on the ferry
Ch Insp Stephen Stiff said: "Emergency services were on the scene very quickly and as the ferry docked into Cairnryan staff were able to board the ferry and start making sure all passengers and crew were safe and well.
"Thankfully there have been very minor injuries only to a handful of passengers - there have been no significant injuries at all which is a blessing.
"Beyond that there will now be a recovery operation by the emergency services working together to make sure that the vehicles that have overturned on the decks can be righted and taken off in a proper and controlled fashion."
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said it had been called out at about 07:30 to assist with the operation.
It sent four fire engines to the scene in Cairnryan to help with the incident.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman said five ambulances were sent to the scene and crews checked over passengers.
He added: "No injuries were reported and no-one was required to be taken to hospital.
"Our specialist operations response team were also dispatched to support our emergency service partners."

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