Hovertravel services cancelled after craft hit in Solent

Freedom 90
Freedom 90
Victoria Road, Emsworth. Credit: Google Maps/Street View

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A Southsea-Ryde hovercraft has been put out of action after it was hit by an object in the Solent.

Hovertravel said the incident forced the craft to turn back to the Isle of Wight during a regular crossing on Saturday night.

Its propellers were broken in the drama although no crew or passengers were hurt.

All services were suspended for urgent safety checks, with flights being resumed on a reduced timetable yesterday afternoon.

Hovertravel said in a statement: ‘On Saturday evening on the 21.45 Ryde to Southsea Service, our Freedom 90 craft experienced significant damage to the port propeller.

‘The craft immediately returned to Ryde, where all passengers and crew disembarked safely. The service was immediately suspended to conduct a stop and review investigation with the MCA, with both craft being grounded.

‘On further investigation the propeller damage indicated a foreign object caused the propellers to break. Safety of passengers and staff is the number one priority for Hovertravel so our engineering team and the MCA have carried out full checks on Island Express.

‘Following the checks on Island Express we are pleased to go back into service from 16.15 on Sunday according to the normal Sunday service on the summer timetable. Freedom 90 will be moved to Woolston for repair work and will return in approximately three weeks.’

The company said that 12 of its daily services had been cancelled until Friday July 17.

Full details are on the Hovertravel website.

Safety of passengers and staff is the number one priority

Hovertravel statement

The Hovertravel statement added: ‘We apologise for any inconvenience today’s suspension and this revised timetable may cause our customers and we ask for your patience as we redouble our efforts to return Freedom 90 to service whilst delivering the best possible one craft timetable we can.’