29/08/2018 15:34 BST

Search For Man ‘Overboard’ Isle Of Wight Ferry Near Portsmouth Harbour Called Off

Police will now treat the incident as a missing persons inquiry.

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Portsmouth Harbour (file picture)

The coastguard has called off an “extensive” search launched when a man “jumped overboard” a ferry near Portsmouth Harbour on Wednesday morning. 

The mayday call was made at 10.50am and boats and emergency crews were dispatched to the search area, along with a rescue helicopter.

But on Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “Despite a thorough and comprehensive search by two RNLI lifeboats from Portsmouth, HM Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent, Hillhead and Portsmouth Coastguard Rescue Teams and other vessels in the area, nothing has been found.

“The search has now been suspended, pending further information. It is now a missing person inquiry and will be handed over to the police.”

An earlier statement from ferry company Wightlink read: “On the 10.30am St Cecilia car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne a passenger was seen to jump overboard, just outside Portsmouth Harbour.

“The crew of St Cecilia deployed the ship’s rescue boat and the coastguard is now the lead authority on this matter, with a number of vessels assisting in the search.”

A video showing some of the boats involved in the rescue efforts was shared on Twitter: 

Passengers travelling on the car ferry service from Portsmouth to Fisbourne were warned they may face delays.

A post shared on Wightlink’s Twitter account said: “Some customers may experience a few minutes delay as our teams have offered assistance to the coastguard with an ongoing incident in the Solent. We are sorry if this affects your travel plans.”

A statement from the coastguard added: “HM Coastguard is coordinating a search and rescue mission after reports of a man overboard off a ferry near Portsmouth Harbour.

“The Mayday call came in around 10.50am today (29 August) and an extensive search is being carried out of the area. Two RNLI lifeboats from Portsmouth, the HM Coastguard search and rescue helicopter from Lee-on-Solent, Hillhead and Portsmouth Coastguard Rescue Teams are all involved.

Also assisting are harbour patrol vessels and a Royal Navy vessel. HM Coastguard has also broadcast a relay to vessels in the area requesting they respond, and assist with the search.”