EMERGENCY services launched a dramatic rescue after a 40-year-old man jumped from a ferry into the sea off Portsmouth.
The man plunged from the Wightlink St Helen ferry as it left Portsmouth Harbour on its way to Fishbourne, Isle of Wight, at 11.40am yesterday.
Wightlink staff spotted the man treading water near the ferry in the Swashway Channel, which is used by vessels approaching and leaving Portsmouth Harbour.
Staff then put rescue procedures into action to save the man’s life.
A small rescue boat attached to the ferry was dispatched and two members of crew on board plucked the man, who was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, from the water before contacting the coastguard.
The man, who is from the Isle of Wight, had been in the water for a total of seven minutes before he was rescued.
A lifeboat from Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs) was then sent out to wrap the man in a plastic overall so he would not develop hypothermia.
A coastguard helicopter scanned the area to make sure no-one else was trapped in the water.
Mike Allen, cox of the Gafirs lifeboat, said: ‘Getting the man out of the water was the most critical thing – especially when the water at the moment is not very warm.
‘Entry into cold water can cause the body to react in different ways.
‘When he was transported onto our lifeboat he didn’t really say much.
‘I think he was mainly in a state of confusion and shock about the whole experience.’
Ministry of Defence Police were alerted and brought the man to shore before he was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and checked over by doctors.
He remained there in a stable condition last night. His injuries were not thought to be serious.
A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘At 12.05pm yesterday we were called by Ministry of Defence Police who had assisted the Wightlink lifeboat in retrieving the man from the water.
‘He is a 40-year-old man who was seen to have jumped from the top of the ferry into the water.
‘He was fished out and taken to the shore before being sent to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.’
Ashli Mcilroy, of Wightlink, said: ‘I can confirm that there was an incident.
‘Our crew acted accordingly and responded with immediate emergency action. The matter was then dealt with by police who carried out an investigation.’