King Harry Ferry: Police divers search for body of passenger as car plunges off ferry slipway into river and is submerged for 30 minutes

Police divers find body of passenger after car plunges off ferry slipway into river and is submerged for 30 minutesPolice confirm body was recovered when car raised from the waterReports say male driver escaped but female passenger did notFerry service has been temporarily suspended

By
Sam Webb

PUBLISHED:

18:08 GMT, 20 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 20 March 2013

A pensioner has died after a car rolled into a river while waiting to board a ferry in Cornwall.

The vehicle plunged into the River Fal at the slipway to the King Harry Ferry across the River Fal near Truro at around 4pm.

Crew members raised the alarm as the
car quickly sank and a frantic rescue operation was launched involving
police, lifeboats and a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose.

Search: A still from a web video showing King Harry Ferry where a car fell into the water, reportedly with a woman inside. Rescue services have now winched it from the water

Search: A still from a web video showing King Harry Ferry where a car fell into the water, reportedly with a woman inside. Rescue services have now winched it from the water

The driver of the vehicle escaped but a
body – believed to be that of a 76-year-old woman – was recovered at
around 6pm when the car was raised from the water.

It is believed that two dogs may also have been in the car and also died.

Reports say the male driver left the car to take a photograph.

The car then bumped into another car before rolling from the slipway.

The car is thought to have been
completely submerged for approximately 30 minutes.

The car was taken out of the water and covered in tarpaulin. Ambulance personnel, fire crews, the coastguard and the police were at the scene.

King Harry Ferry - Cornwall - Locator.jpg

The King Harry Ferry Company issued the following statement: 'We can confirm that at 16.00 on Wednesday, March 20, a car on the Roseland side on the river Fal entered the water from the slipway.

'The King Harry Ferry was at the Feock side of the river at the time.

'The service has been temporarily suspended and emergency services are in attendance.'

Witnesses at the scene say the incident was reported by the ferry crew who heard a big splash as the car went into the water.

The King Harry ferry crossing the river Fal near Trelissick in Cornwall. A car fell from the rear and a passenger is feared drowned

The King Harry ferry crossing the river Fal near Trelissick in Cornwall. A car fell from the rear and a passenger is feared drowned

Falmouth Coastguard were coordinating the operation and said they were 'exceptionally busy', according to the Falmouth Packet.

CCTV from King Harry Ferry
Headquarters shows a car bumped into another car on the slipway – that
car gets out of the way – then the car drives into the river with a big splash.

A
spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police earlier said the rescue was
proving more difficult than had been first anticipated and police divers
had been requested to help with the operation.

File photo of the King Harry Ferry site near Trelissick, Cornwall, where a woman passenger is understood to have died after a car fell into the water

File photo of the King Harry Ferry site near Trelissick, Cornwall, where a woman passenger is understood to have died after a car fell into the water

A rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose and inshore and all-weather lifeboats from Falmouth were also at the scene.

A civilian diver also inspected the submerged car.

The King Harry Ferry connects St Mawes and the Roseland Peninsula with Feock, Truro and Falmouth and is an alternative route to a 27-mile (43km) journey through Truro and Tresillian.

It has been operating since 1888.