Cadets in Manx ferry accident

Manannan pictured after lthe crash in Douglas, Isle of Man.
Manannan pictured after lthe crash in Douglas, Isle of Man.
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Members of Fleetwood Sea Cadets unit have returned from the Isle of Man after they were involved in a ferry accident.

The group of seven were aboard the catamaran ferry Manannan when it crashed into the pier at Douglas, injuring five passengers.

Picture Martin Bostock.
Dennis Archbold, commanding officer of Fleetwood Sea Cadets.

Picture Martin Bostock. Dennis Archbold, commanding officer of Fleetwood Sea Cadets.

Fleetwood’s contingent, who were travelling to the island for their Easter Camp in a party of more than 40 North West Cadets, were unhurt in the incident, which occurred last Wednesday.

The Manannan hit Victoria Pier at about at around 10.40pm as it came in to dock.

The ferry had departed from Liverpool just after 7pm the same day.

The unit’s commanding officer, Lt Cdr Dennis Archbold, 64, who lives on Mersey Road, Fleetwood, told how his wife Theresa, an officer with the unit, was with six Cadets aboard the vessel.

He said: “My wife was in her role as an officer taking the Cadets across to camp.

“She phoned me after 11pm, while she was still aboard, to tell me there had been an incident.

“At first she thought the ferry had run aground but then she was told it had hit the pier.

“She was calm and her first concern was that the Cadets in her charge were safe.

“We had spoken a bit earlier and she had said there seemed to be a problem with the vessel’s thrusters.”

Mrs Archbold, 64, and the Cadets, aged between 10 and 11, returned home from the camp in the early hours of Tuesday morning, via Heysham.

She said: “When we got into Douglas there was a bump and it gave us a bit of a shock, but it was not too serious, thankfully.”

The injured passengers were taken to hospital but were not seriously hurt.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, which runs the ferry service, said early indications suggested a “systems control failure” led to the accident.

Sailings between Douglas and Liverpool were disrupted and temporarily switched to Heysham.

Mark Woodward, chief executive of the Steam Packet Company, said the company wanted to apologise for any disruption caused to passengers and stated that safety was paramount to the company.

In the past there were sailings between Fleetwood and Douglas but the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company halted the trips as they were not deemed economically viable.